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family caregivers, home recovery, octogenarian CABG patient



  1. Ganske, Kathryn M. PhD, RN


Rates of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery on octogenarians have been rising by more than 15% each year since the mid-1980s. Little is known about the experience of caring for this select group of patients at home after discharge. The purpose of this study was to describe the lived experience of caring for very elderly (80 years or older) CABG patients during convalescence at home. Using hermeneutic/phenomenological methods, 12 family caregivers were interviewed at home during the 4-week postdischarge period. Analysis of data derived from interviews revealed that work, personal reaction to caregiving, and experiences with formal care were recurrent themes. Caregivers indicated through their stories that caring for a recovering octogenarian at home after CABG surgery entailed a great deal of work that moderated at about 4 weeks after discharge. The caregivers also described varied reactions, both emotional and pragmatic, as the weeks unfolded. In addition, the data revealed a range of experiences, positive and negative, with healthcare providers and facilities. The study findings indicate a need for improvements in the following areas: preoperative, postoperative, and discharge education for family members involved in the care of the elderly CABG patient, and communication within and between healthcare organizations with regard to discharge planning.