Patients with acute abdominal pain describe their experiences of fundamental care across the acute care episode: A multi-stage qualitative case study

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Abstract

Aim: To explore how patients with acute abdominal pain describe their experiences of fundamental care across the acute care episode. Background: Acute abdominal pain is one of the most common conditions to present in the acute care setting. Little is known about how patients' fundamental care needs are managed from presentation to post discharge. Design: A multi-stage qualitative case study using the Fundamentals of Care framework as the overarching theoretical and explanatory mechanism. Methods: Repeated reflective interviews were conducted with five adult patients over a 6-month period in 2013 at a university hospital in Sweden. The interviews (n = 14) were analysed using directed content analysis. Results: Patients' experiences across the acute care episode are presented as five patient narratives and synthesized into five descriptions of the entire hospital journey. The patients talked about the fundamentals of care and had vivid accounts of what they meant to them. The experiences of each of the patients were influenced by the extent to which they felt engaged with the health professionals. The ability to engage or build a rapport was identified as a central component across the fundamental care elements, but it varied in visibility. Conclusion: Consistent pain management, comfort, timely and accurate information, choice and dignity and relationships were identified as essential fundamental care needs of patients experiencing acute abdominal pain regardless of setting, diagnosis, or demographic variables. These were variously achieved and the patients' narratives raised areas for improvement in several areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-801
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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