The experience of returning home after surviving cardiac arrest: A narrative inquiry

Gunilla Haydon, Pamela van der Riet, Kerry Inder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Surviving a cardiac arrest is a tumultuous experience. Although the incidence of cardiac arrest and influencing factors are well researched, little is known of survivors’ experiences as they return home from hospital. This article aims to explore survivors’ experiences of returning home after surviving a cardiac arrest. Four females and 13 males, all independently living cardiac arrest survivors, were recruited using purposive and snowball sampling techniques and participated in individual in-depth interviews over a six-month period. This inquiry follows COREQ guidelines and data were analysed using narrative inquiry where key threads were identified. Findings indicate that a cardiac arrest is a catastrophic event where the survivor has to accept and adjust mentally, physically and socially, often leading to insecurity about the future. The cardiac arrest impacts all aspects of life on return home, including the ability to work and to drive, accepting added medical appointments and medication regimens. Healthcare professionals can learn from survivors’ narratives to support holistic care, considering survivors’ experiences in their transition home and back to reality as a cardiac arrest survivor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-196
Number of pages9
JournalNordic Journal of Nursing Research
Issue number4
Early online date24 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2020


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