Perceptions of illness, lifestyle and support after an acute myocardial infarction

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Abstract

After an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), people are encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle. But they are not always motivated to maintain the necessary lifestyle changes and need the right support to do it. In sparsely populated areas, people afflicted by an AMI have difficulty in finding standard rehabilitation programmes near their homes during the recovery, so they need alternative forms of support. The aim was to describe individual perceptions of their lifestyle and support, 1 year after an AMI, with or without mentorship. This study has a qualitative, descriptive design with data collected in individual interviews. Twenty men and women were interviewed 1 year after their first AMI, and 11 had been offered contact with mentors who had had an AMI. Content analysis was used to analyse the data. Those with and without mentors had similarities and tendencies to variation in their perceptions, with both a positive and negative view of life. The participants were aware of the necessity of living a healthy lifestyle but some resisted doing so. They wished to live as before, and all saw the future positively. Having a mentor with the same experience could be valuable for some people, but more research is needed to understand the lack of motivation to make beneficial lifestyle changes after a serious health event as AMI.

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