SERIOUS ILLNESS AS OPORTUNITY
Objective: to describe the meaning for gravely ill patients of the hospital experience in an Intensive Care Unit. Methodology: research study with phenomenological focus including nine mature people among 24 and 80 years of age who were critically ill and were hospitalized in an Intensive Care Unit. The in depth interview was the technique for gathering the information. The analysis of data was carried according to the outline proposed by Cohen, Kahan and Steeves. The study was carried in Medellín, Colombia from April to October, 2006. Results: a serious illness is an experience in which it is necessary “struggle” to leave the Intensive Care Unit, to return home and recover the freedom to decide. When leaving the patients learn, in the personal, professional and familiar spheres. Discussion: to suffer a serious illness means a situation of were people and their families learn and grow families. Conclusion: suffering a serious illness not only means to face the suffering, but also provides a reason to make decisions regarding the patients´ future life.
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