Peer mentoring - A complementary support to persons after an acute myocardial infarction

Detta är en avhandling från Östersund : Mittuniversitetet

Sammanfattning: The overall aim of the thesis was to investigate the experience of having an acute myocardial infarction in newly afflicted persons living in sparsely populated counties, and whether an intervention with peer mentors would provide support by affecting the perception of illness, health related quality of life and everyday life. The aim was also to describe the support of peer mentors from their perspective and what the mentoring meant to them. The thesis was based on four empirical studies (I-IV) and had a prospective, longitudinal, quasi-experimental, comparative design. A suitable sample was recruited, comprising 72 individuals who were newly afflicted with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) for the first time; 34 of them were offered contact with a peer mentor, while 38 were not. Furthermore, 34 peer mentors participated in the project. The results were based on data collected from 28 individuals with mentors, 33 individuals without and 22 peer mentors. In studies I and III, qualitative approaches were used based on individual interviews with 20 newly afflicted individuals with (n=11) and without (n=9) mentors one year after AMI. The aims were to describe individuals’ perceptions of the psychosocial consequences of an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and of their access to support one year after the event (I) and to describe individual perceptions of their lifestyle and support, 1 year after an AMI with or without mentorship (III). Study II was quantitative, consisting of data from questionnaires IPQ-R and SF-36 answered by 61 newly afflicted individuals with (n=28) and without (n=33) mentors. It aimed to investigate whether changes in illness perception and health-related quality of life occur over time after an intervention with peer mentors 1, 6 and 12 months after an AMI. Study IV had a mixed design and included peer mentors with the purpose to describing the personal meaning of being a peer mentor, for a person recovering from an acute myocardial infarction. Data consisted of individual interviews (n=15) and some data from IPQ-R and SF-36 that were provided on two occasions (n=22). All of the interviews (I, III, IV) were digitally recorded and analysed by qualitative content analysis, while the quantitative studies included descriptive data and were further compared using analysis of variance (ANOVA) (II) and the paired-sample t-test (IV). The results from all four studies are interpreted and presented together, and they show differences and similarities between the newly afflicted with or without peer mentors and the peer mentors. The results comprise six main areas; the meaning of becoming a person with an AMI (I, II, III) pointed toward an awareness of the situation expressed both in positive and negative terms, as being thankful or of being afraid of having a second AMI. View at health care (I) indicated that follow-up after discharge was sometimes a positive experience but more often resulted in dissatisfaction with this part of the health-care system. Consequences (II) showed significant effects between groups in the dimensions ‘consequences’ and ‘timeline acute/chronic’ (IPQ-R), with higher mean values for those without mentors and a significant effect of time in both dimensions. There were also physical consequences for many of the participants (I, II, III, IV) as well as psychological consequences (I, II, IV). Everyday life (I, III) was affected by AMI that sometimes limited activities. There were demands to change areas of life-style that were perceived as both positive and negative. Health (II, III, IV) showed that health increased for most individuals during the year, as confirmed by significant values for time for those newly afflicted. The peer mentors showed a decrease in mean values but expressed that they felt healthier after compared with before their commitment. Meaning of support (I, IV) indicated that families and relatives had an important, supportive role for newly afflicted participants. The mentorship showed that the relationship was, in some cases and for different reasons, unsuccessful. However, most of them were satisfied, and new friendships arose. More of the mentors felt pride and were thankful because their experience was shown to be valuable to others in addition to themselves. The results were synthesised using the Human Becoming nursing theory, which confirmed that recovery after an AMI is a process that occurs over time in which that those afflicted must accept and be comfortable being a person who is afflicted by an AMI. Some tendencies indicated an advantage for the newly afflicted participants who had received contact with a peer mentor. Conclusion: Because the mentor had experienced the same event, the relationship contributed to the security of the mentee. The peer mentors matured with the task because they felt that their experience was valuable and they felt unique.