Families Living Well With Chronic Illness: The Healing Process of Moving On

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Abstract

Chronic illness is a global issue of escalating importance. While prevention, control, and management of chronic disease are imperative, it is also critical to shift our focus away from illness and toward living. In particular, attention needs to focus on living well despite illness. This article reports a grounded theory study with 43 members from 17 families who perceived they were managing well with serious chronic illnesses. The theory that captures the circular, iterative healing process of moving on is comprised of five phases: the fight, accepting, living with the chronic illness, sharing the experience, and reconstructing life. Families moved on through the process and moved on over time toward healing where they lived well alongside chronic illness. Family issues associated with each phase are identified as well as implications for health care providers. The theory provides a way of conceptualizing wellness in illness that supports patient- and family-centered care.

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