• A Phenomenological Study on Lived Experiences of Psycho-Socio-Spiritual Healing in Cardiac Rehabilitation Patients

      Nadarajah, Sheeba Raaj; Wiegand, Debra J. Lynn-McHale (2012)
      Abstract Background: Coronary artery disease is the single leading cause of death in the United States. Secondary prevention programs such as cardiac rehabilitation focus on physical aspects of healing and psycho-socio-spiritual aspects of healing are often given minimal attention or neglected. Considering the chronic nature of cardiac disease, a holistic approach to secondary prevention programs might help to improve health outcomes. Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to describe the lived experiences of psycho-socio-spiritual healing in cardiac rehabilitation patients. Methods: A descriptive, qualitative, phenomenological approach guided the investigation. A purposive sample of 10 patients was recruited from a cardiac rehabilitation center. In-depth interviews were conducted with each participant. An interview guide was used that included open ended and specific questions related to psycho-socio-spiritual aspects of healing. Interviews were recorded and audio files were transcribed. Colaizzi (1978) method was used to guide data analysis and formulate the structure of the psycho-socio-spiritual healing phenomenon. An audit trail was developed, detailed memos regarding steps in the data anlaysis were written, and peer debriefing was performed. Member checks were conducted to determine credibility. All of the data were reviewed by a second researcher to confirm dependability and confirmability. Results: Participants described the entire experience as life-transforming. Experiencing an acute cardiac event was shocking. Participants were suddenly faced with their own mortality. When faced with this life and death situation, participants chose life and healing. Participants reordered priorities and made necessary lifestyle changes. Living with heart disease had its own challenges that included: maintaining lifestyle changes, living with one's genetic vulnerability, and fear of recurrence of another cardiac event. Heart disease led to positive changes such as weight loss, motivation to others without heart disease and most importantly, transformation and growth. Barriers to healing included lack of support and psychological distress. Healing was facilitated by having a positive attitude and being committed, participating in cardiac rehabilitation, using mind-body interventions, and having social support. Conclusions: This study explored the psycho-socio-spiritual healing phenomena in CR participants. A holistic approach to care that integrates psycho-social-spiritual healing with physical healing may help to support patients and facilitate recovery.