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Article

Living with the Memories—Parents’ Experiences of Their Newborn Child Undergoing Heart Surgery Abroad: A Qualitative Study

1
Faculty of Nursing, University of Iceland, Eirberg, Eiriksgata 34, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
2
Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Box 157, 22100 Lund, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8840; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238840
Received: 22 October 2020 / Revised: 22 November 2020 / Accepted: 24 November 2020 / Published: 28 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nursing and Society)
Parents of children with a congenital heart defect needing complex heart surgery are at high risk of developing health problems. One can assume that parents whose child undergoes heart surgery abroad will undoubtably face added and unique stressors and health vulnerabilities. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the transition experiences of parents of children who underwent a complex heart surgery abroad as newborns 1–5 years ago. The qualitative content analysis methodology by Graneheim and Lundman was used. A purposive sample of twelve parents, whose child had undergone a heart surgery abroad, participated in face-to-face, semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using inductive qualitative content analysis. The overarching theme of “living with the memories” emerged from parents’ experiences, emphasizing the long-lasting impact this stressful event had on their lives. These experiences were characterized by four main categories: (1) being in an unknown situation; (2) feeling connected; (3) wishing to be accepted; and (4) finding closure. The findings show that the transition of having a newborn child undergo heart surgery abroad superimposed on the expected parenthood. That parents need to feel connected and included as legitimate clients was highlighted in their stories of experienced vulnerabilities. The results highlight the need for interdisciplinary teams to support these vulnerable families, particularly with follow-up care. View Full-Text
Keywords: child; parent; congenital heart disease; heart surgery; qualitative research; content analysis; cross-border care; transitions child; parent; congenital heart disease; heart surgery; qualitative research; content analysis; cross-border care; transitions
MDPI and ACS Style

Kristjánsdóttir, Ó.; Sjöström-Strand, A.; Kristjánsdóttir, G. Living with the Memories—Parents’ Experiences of Their Newborn Child Undergoing Heart Surgery Abroad: A Qualitative Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8840. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238840

AMA Style

Kristjánsdóttir Ó, Sjöström-Strand A, Kristjánsdóttir G. Living with the Memories—Parents’ Experiences of Their Newborn Child Undergoing Heart Surgery Abroad: A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(23):8840. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238840

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kristjánsdóttir, Ólöf, Annica Sjöström-Strand, and Gudrún Kristjánsdóttir. 2020. "Living with the Memories—Parents’ Experiences of Their Newborn Child Undergoing Heart Surgery Abroad: A Qualitative Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 23: 8840. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238840

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