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Heart Lung. 2002 Sep-Oct;31(5):355-67.

The recovery mosaic: older women's lived experiences after a myocardial infarction.

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  • 1Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of recovery in women 65 years of age and older during initial recovery from acute myocardial infarction.


The study was designed with Heideggerian phenomenology, purposive sampling, and unstructured interactive interviews. Data were analyzed with interpretive processes of hermeneutics.


The study was set in a Canadian metropolitan teaching hospital and in patient homes.


Seven women who had had a first time myocardial infarction were recruited. Age ranged from 67 to 86 years (mean, 74 years).


Analysis revealed that recovery for these women was highly contextual and consisted of life experience resembling a mosaic, in which the women described how they "created a new picture for themselves." The data were clustered into 4 substantive themes that included: life is scattered; trying to make sense of it; learning to live with it; and getting settled.


The older women in this study underestimated their susceptibility to acute myocardial infarction, were avid planners and coordinators of their recovery, equated the loss of the homemaker role to job loss, used their ability to socialize as an indicator of the recovery progress, and lacked support to perform household duties, such as laundry, and those women with fewer symptoms "cheated" in relation to activity and diet. These findings may serve as a basis for the development of healthcare strategies reflective of older women's recovery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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