This study explores the perceived meaning of dependency on care as experienced by intensive care patients. Research from non-intensive settings shows that dependency is often experienced negatively, but literature on the subject experienced by patients in the ICU is sparse. The study is based on in-depth qualitative semi-structured interviews of lived experience with three former patients admitted to an intensive care unit at a Danish university hospital. The in-depth interviews have been characterized as narratives. The main inspiration for the analysis method is Ricoeur's phenomenological hermeneutical interpretation theory. The study has found that dependency is experienced as difficult, and the relationship with the nurses seems to be ambivalent. The good relationship is experienced to make dependency easier, whereas negative experiences make it harder to cope with dependency. The participants deal with dependency by accepting negative experiences in gratitude for having recovered from critical illness. The findings might be influenced by studies being conducted in a western country setting where independence is valued. They can be used as means of reflection on nursing practice and matters such as communication and patient participation.
International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 2015, Vol 10