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Women in cardiac rehabilitation, our stories

by Ebbesen, Lori Sue

Abstract (Summary)
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death and disability wortdwide for women. Even sol wornen are under represented in cardiac resaarch and there remain few studies that focus specifically on women. This life history inquiry project was designed to arrive at an in depth understanding of the lived experience of a few wamen in cardiac rehabilitation and explore how their personal qualities and life experiences influence their involvement in such programming. Three women between the ages of 40 and 80 years, who were regularly participating in a non-rnedically supervised, graduate cardiac rehabilitation program, were recruited to engage in multiple conversations regarding personal life experiences. Consistent with life history research processes, additional research techniques included a review of related cardiac rehabilitation and personal documents and observation within the cardiac rehabilitation setting. These stories provide an understanding of the complexity of life experiences that an individual brings to cardiac rehabilitation. lnsights emerged regarding personal qualities (resilience, positive outlook, sense of self and view of health) and environmental qualities (social support. relationships with health professionals) that facilitate cardiac rehabilitation participation, both initially and long-terrn. Oesirable program features were identified including an individualized and informed orientation process, close supervision, approachable and flexible staff, support from staff, and "women's only" programming. Five thernes emerged from the stories regarding the meaning of the cardiac rehabilitationexperience: connecting with others, gaining perspective, reaping the benefits, learning with others, and having fun. The desirable program features and meaning of cardiac rehabilitation are grounded in adult leaming and theory, thereby supporting the notion that the link between adult learning and cardiac rehabilitation needs to be explicit and operationalized. iii
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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