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Objective: To explore the experience of mothers whose children underwent cardiac
Design: Descriptive qualitative research.
Procedure: Purposive sampling was used to recruit 30 participants, mothers
whose children had undergone cardiac surgery for the frst time at a university hospital
in Bangkok. Data were collected through 3 in-depth interviews with each participant.
The frst interview was conducted within 7 days after each child’s surgery, whilst the
second and third took place 2 weeks and 2 to 4 months after his/her discharge. Content
analysis was adopted to analyse the data.
Results: The mothers’ experience was studied in 3 stages: when they knew about
their children’s congenital heart diseases, when their children had cardiac surgery, and
when they gave their children post-discharge care. Their experience covered 5 aspects:
(1) feeling of loss and fear that their children might not survive; (2) reluctance and
unwillingness to let their children undergo surgery; (3) awareness of their children’s
need for surgery; (4) concern about their children’s post-operative conditions; and
(5) post-discharge care not being as complicated as before. In addition, most of the
mothers interviewed showed deep anxiety about their children’s lives and safety. They also
experienced varying degrees of uncertainty both before and after the surgery, depending
on the severity and complexity of their children’s cardiac disorders, changes in their
children’s conditions, and the information provided by the doctors and nurses.
Recommendations: Nurses should develop means of providing information to
enhance mothers’ ability to cope with stress and uncertainty, and to promote effcient home
care for their children after cardiac surgery. Also, further qualitative study should be
conducted to explore mothers’ experience in caring for children who have undergone
multiple cardiac operations as a result of their complex heart diseases.
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