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Developing a Grounded Theory on Adaptation After Lung Transplantation From Intermediate-Term Patient Experiences

Journal article
Authors M. Lundmark
Annette Lennerling
A. Forsberg
Published in Progress in Transplantation
Volume 29
Issue 2
Pages 135-143
ISSN 1526-9248
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 135-143
Language en
Keywords lung transplantation, adaptation, grounded theory, qualitative, posttransplant follow-up, recovery, symptom experience, self-management, Surgery, Transplantation
Subject categories Nursing, Transplantation surgery


Background: Previous research revealed that it is possible for lung recipients to experience health 1 year posttransplant, despite not being fully recovered. However, an in-depth, long-term perspective on how lung recipients' health transition evolves over time is lacking. Thus, the aim of this study was to further develop a grounded theory of health transition by exploring the process of change 1 to 3 years after lung transplantation. Methods: The grounded theory method was used prospectively to analyze the narratives of 14 adult lung recipients who were included at their 1-year follow-up and reinterviewed 2 years later. Results: This novel study contributes an in-depth understanding of the adaptation process after lung transplantation. The greatest concern in the 3 years after lung transplantation was adaptation to a new normality, which was achieved by 3 main strategies: compare, accept, and adjust. Adaptation to a new normality involved understanding that one's previous life no longer exists and that a new way of living requires adaptation. Successful adaptation resulted in the experience of health and well-being, whereas too many symptoms and limitations in everyday life led to difficulties and a profound sense of illness. Conclusions: Lung recipients can experience health, despite symptoms and complications by adapting to a new normality. This individual process begins posttransplant and continues throughout life.

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