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Can J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2010;20(3):9-17.

Spouses' experiences of impact on daily life regarding physical limitations in the loved one with heart failure: a phenomenographic analysis.

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School of Social and Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Sweden.



Physical limitation is a great burden for patients with heart failure, but little is known about how that affects spouses. Beneficial effects of support on the prognosis for the patient with chronic heart failure may come at a psychological and physical cost to the person providing the support.


The aim of this study was to explore and describe how spouses conceive the physical limitations in patients with heart failure and the impact these limitations have on the daily life of the spouse.


A qualitative design with a phenomenographic approach was chosen for the study.


The informants were 15 spouses of heart failure patients. The spouses perceived a variety of aspects pertaining to how they conceive the physical limitations in the loved one with heart failure and the implication this had on their daily life. The referential aspects were: Losing self-containment, Missing communality, Accommodating to the situation and Finding satisfaction in life.


Awareness must be raised among health care professionals about the profound impact heart failure in loved ones has on the spouses and explore how the spouses' needs can be appropriately met. Since spouses have an important role to play in the management of heart failure, it is of great importance that nurses identify and support spouses to manage daily life activities. Taking care of the good days in order to have a rich life and to help spouses see possibilities is necessary since it is difficult to predict the future.

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