An exploratory study of the subjective experience of patients who have had primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) following a heart attack (myocardial infarction): the personal journey to discharge

Shotter Weetman, Cas (2017) An exploratory study of the subjective experience of patients who have had primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) following a heart attack (myocardial infarction): the personal journey to discharge. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

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The National Health Service (NHS) in England is changing, not only in terms of the technical aspects of care (such as that afforded by new technology), but also in the way in which care is delivered to patients. For example, due to the increasing pressures being placed upon health services, hospitals need to develop innovative ways to reduce the length of time patients actually spend in hospital. Whilst this improves capacity planning, bed management and patient flow, it also seeks to ensure improved patient safety by delivering care and ongoing treatment in the most appropriate setting.

However, discharging patients from hospital can be challenging and fraught with complexities. Therefore, the efficient and effective management of this process can have a considerable impact on subsequent clinical outcomes and readmission rates. As such, effective discharge planning and practice has become an integral part of health service policy and, in recent years, there has been an increased emphasis placed on the contribution nurses make to this process (Department of Health, 2002; 2005a; 2005b). New recommendations from the Kings Fund (Seale, 2016) suggest that a collaborative relationship between patients, carers, third sector parties and communities is central to the future of the NHS. This is because these perspectives are fundamental; indeed, patients are the reason the NHS exists. Since 2010, this has been the aim of my doctoral research ― to explore a shared leadership approach in determining the principles of care.

The purpose of this study is to gain an insight into (and a greater understanding of) patient experiences during the discharge process following percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) after myocardial infarction (MI) ― commonly known as a heart attack. PCI is a relatively new procedure; since its implementation it has resulted in patients staying in hospital for less than three days. Previous management would regularly result in patients remaining in hospital for longer than seven days. However, reducing the length of stay has potentially impacted how information and communication are both provided and understood by patients on discharge from acute hospital care. Previous research such as Hainsworth (2006), Department of Health (DoH) (2004) and Picker (2010) suggests that whilst there has been a great deal of emphasis placed on policy, there still remains scope for improvement in practice.

As qualitative research is a form of social enquiry that focuses on the way people make sense of their experiences and the world in which they live, this research focuses on individuals who have had a heart attack and have then undergone the same treatment. The aim is to understand, describe and interpret their experiences, behaviour and feelings by looking at social processes and interactions. This was based on undertaking three separate focus groups involving patients, clinicians and members of the management team from a local NHS acute hospital in West London. Furthermore, in-depth, semi-structured interviews with eight patients were conducted. The idea behind surveying patients', clinical staff and managers narratives/opinions, was to establish a holistic view of discharge planning and practice. Recommendations for change could then be made dependant on these findings, in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of this process, in addition to patients’ experiences.

Following the completion of the focus groups and semi-structured interviews, analysis was undertaken to identify whether any common themes emerged across the three different groups. Although the narratives identified varying views, the most significant of the emerging themes was that of communication and the attitude of staff. Indeed, further analysis confirmed that communication was a prevalent issue in all three focus groups. The findings suggest patients have specific individual needs; this would not be surprising given the treatment and care received. Communication was also noted to be a major theme for patients; whilst clearly the majority of patients were relatively happy with the care received, they remained keen to make suggestions for improvement. The attitude of staff also featured strongly; patients were keen to suggest the changes they required and their rationale for these suggestions. The clinicians' themes mirrored the patients' themes, whilst also incorporating resource and innovation. The managers' themes commonly focused on service and proposed new ways of working, which included 'joined-up' working across acute and community services. Furthermore, the clinicians' and managers’ themes recognised that the attitudes of all groups of staff remained a challenge.

In conclusion, this study has demonstrated the requirement for and the importance of effective communication throughout the entire discharge process. The aims are as follows: to ensure that post-procedure patients are discharged home or into a community setting safely; that they receive the right care, treatment and information in the most appropriate setting; and that they find and use ways to facilitate their recovery. Furthermore, this study has validated the importance of empowering patients to live with their diagnosed condition/disease by enabling the provision of support post-discharge. To this end, there is a need to ensure that positive values (such as empathy and compassion) remain a core part of the discharge planning process. This can be achieved by recognising each patient as an individual who is trying to make sense of a daunting life-changing experience whilst maintaining their own core belief and value systems. As a result, recommendations for improvements and change within this study have been based upon these findings.

Further research needs to be defined to ensure that discharging patients from an acute hospital to their home or community setting remains both safe and effective, whilst also being informative and empowering.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Medicine and health > Clinical medicine > Clinical care
Medicine and health > Clinical medicine
Medicine and health
Depositing User: David Phillips
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2017 14:45
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:23


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