Reducing family stress during and after coronary artery bypass surgery.
Based on the findings of this study of couples after coronary artery bypass surgery, there are numerous stresses and unmet needs that might be addressed by hospital-based nurses. The study demonstrated that, as a group, the spouses of the bypass patients report higher levels of stress than the patients did while in the hospital. Together, patients and spouses reported high levels of marital conflict, dissatisfaction, and discord during the first 6 months after the surgery. Many indicated that they were unprepared for these experiences. Further, they found it difficult to maintain continuity with a provider who could answer their questions about recovery. As a result of these findings a program of nursing care that focuses on the family during and after coronary artery bypass surgery has been proposed. The model program consists of preparation for surgery, preparation for discharge, and continuous contact with the family after discharge, at least through the first follow-up appointment with the surgeon at 6 weeks. For each phase it is necessary to consider content that is appropriate to the individual patient, but it is essential to include content aimed at reducing the stresses and risk experienced by the family as well. By doing so hospital-based nurses are treating the family as well as nursing the patient through this episode of acute illness.
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