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Consequences and coping strategies six years after a subarachnoid hemorrhage - A qualitative study

Journal article
Authors Hanna C Persson
Karin Törnbom
Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen
Marie Törnbom
Published in Plos One
Volume 12
Issue 8
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Language en
Keywords of-life, recovery, outcomes, determinants, symptoms
Subject categories Neurosciences, Nursing


Background After a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), continuing impairment is common and may impact the person's life. There is a lack of knowledge regarding long-term consequences experienced. To explore experiences of the care and rehabilitation as well as the consequences and strategies used to cope with everyday life six years post SAH. An explorative interview study with a qualitative design. Individual interviews, with open ended questions, using an interview guide were performed with sixteen participants (mean age 63, 8 men, 8 women) six years post SAH. Data was analyzed according to a descriptive thematic analysis, and themes were discovered inductively. Two major themes from the analysis, both including four sub-themes, were identified; these themes were consequences of the SAH and coping strategies. Participants were grateful to have survived the SAH and most were satisfied with their acute medical care. If discharged directly from the neurosurgical unit participants can feel abandoned. In contrast, participants who were referred to a rehabilitation clinic felt supported and informed. Cognitive problems, such as impaired memory and mental fatigue, were reported as still present six years post SAH. Coping strategies were; receiving support from family, society, employers, or technical equipment. At work, talking to colleagues and to taking breaks were common. Participants described hiding their symptoms from employers and friends, as well as trying to continue doing tasks in the same manner as prior to the SAH. If this was not possible, some refrained from doing these tasks. They went through a mourning process, fear, and worries. Participants reported several long-term consequences which impacted on their daily lives post SAH, and different coping strategies were used to cope with these problems. Participants reported lack of awareness regarding the consequences of SAH and stressed the importance of structured multidisciplinary follow-ups, which mostly is missing.

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