INTRODUCTION: Haemato-oncology patients often require critical care support due to side-effects of treatment. Discharge can mark the start of an uncertain journey due to the impact of critical illness on health-related quality of life. Qualitatively establishing needs is a priority as current evidence is limited.
AIMS: To qualitatively explore perceptions of haemato-oncology patients' health-related quality of life after critical illness and explore how healthcare professionals can provide long-term support.
METHODS: Nine in-depth interviews were conducted three to eighteen months post-discharge from critical care. Phenomenology was used to gain deeper understanding of the patients' lived experience.
SETTING: A 19-bedded Intensive Care Unit in a specialist cancer centre.
FINDINGS: Five major themes emerged: Intensive care as a means to an end; Rollercoaster of illness; Reliance on hospital; Having a realistic/sanguine approach; Living in the moment. Haemato-oncology patients who experience critical illness may view it as a small part of a larger treatment pathway, thus health-related quality of life is impacted by this rather than the acute episode.
CONCLUSIONS: Discharge from the intensive care unit can be seen as a positive end-point, allowing personal growth in areas such as relationships and living life to the full. The contribution of health-care professionals and support of significant others is regarded as critical to the recovery experience.
- health-related quality of life
- critical care
- post-traumatic growth