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Experiences of loss and chronic sorrow in persons with severe chronic illness
Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ, Dep. of Nursing Science. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Quality improvements, innovations and leadership in health care and social work.
2007 (English)In: Journal of Clinical Nursing, ISSN 0962-1067, E-ISSN 1365-2702, Vol. 16, no 3A, p. 76-83Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aims and objectives. The aims of the present study were to describe losses narrated by persons afflicted with severe chronic physical illness and to identify the concomitant occurrence of chronic sorrow. Background. Reactions connected with repeated losses are referred to in the literature as chronic sorrow, which has recently been described in conjunction with chronic illness. Design. A qualitative study with an abductive approach of analysis, including both inductive and deductive interpretations. Method. The study is based on 30 persons of working age with average disease duration of 18 years. The average age was 51 years. All of the persons had personal assistance for at least three months because of considerable need for help in daily life due to physical disability. Each person was interviewed twice. There was also an independent assessment of the deductive results concerning chronic sorrow. Results. The inductive findings show that all persons had experienced repeated physical, emotional and social losses. Most common were 'Loss of bodily function', 'Loss of relationship', 'Loss of autonomous life' and 'Loss of the life imagined'. 'Loss of identity' included the loss of human worth, dignity and a changed self-image. In addition, the deductive findings suggest that chronic sorrow exists in the study population. Sixteen of 30 participating subjects were assessed by both assessors to be in a state of chronic sorrow and there was an especially high agreement with respect to one criterion of chronic sorrow 'Loss experience, ongoing or single event' (28 of 30 subjects). Conclusions. This study shows that persons with severe chronic illness often experience recurring losses. These experiences are consistent with the phenomenon of chronic sorrow. Relevance to clinical practice. Knowledge of the existence of chronic sorrow in persons with chronic illness will enable nurses to support these persons in a more sensitive and appropriate way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 16, no 3A, p. 76-83
Keywords [en]
severe neurological illness, personal assistance, chronic sorrow, losses, qualitative interview study, caring
National Category
Nursing Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-3785PubMedID: 17518872OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-3785DiVA, id: diva2:34605
Available from: 2007-10-10 Created: 2007-10-10 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Ahlström, Gerd

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