Patient Recovery and Transitions After Hospitalization for Acute Cardiac Events: An Integrative Review

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Abstract

Despite increased attention to providing seamless transitions after hospitalization, patients often feel unprepared, lack knowledge, and may be confused by what to expect during recovery at home after a cardiac event. Care transition after hospital discharge could be improved by informing and counseling patients more specifically about expected recovery after a cardiac event. Therefore, an integrative review of research was conducted to evaluate cardiac patients’ trajectory of recovery after hospitalization. A total of 61 studies were included in this review. Studies included were those of cardiac patients who had been hospitalized for significant cardiac events and those focused on acute coronary syndrome (n = 18), percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) (n = 12), cardiac surgery (coronary artery bypass surgery and valve surgery; n = 25), and heart failure (n = 6). Studies included quantitative, mixed-methods, and qualitative designs, with sample sizes ranging from 4 to 2121 participants. Notwithstanding the limitations of this review, findings demonstrated that patients’ perceptions of their cardiac event evolved over time from uncertainty, fears, anxiety, and depression, which were often associated with a lack of knowledge of their cardiac condition, to a phase of self-management of their cardiac condition. Furthermore, patterns of commonly occurring symptoms and changes in functioning abilities during recovery after hospitalization were apparent among the different cardiac groups. These findings may be useful to both patients and clinicians to inform them about the recovery trajectory after a cardiac event to improve preparation for the transition from hospital to home.

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