Background: An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a technical device used in the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias. After an ICD implantation, the entire life situation of the patient their next of kin can be affected psychologically and socially. Healthcare professionals play a vital role in providing educational counselling, support and technical follow-up of the device, but little is known about their experiences.
Aim: This paper describes the experiences of Swedish healthcare professionals in delivering care to patients with an ICD.
Methods: A qualitative, descriptive design based on a phenomenographic approach was used. Data were collected through interviews with 12 specialist ICD nurses and 12 physicians, representing 16 ICD implantation centres in Sweden.
Findings: Two descriptive categories comprising seven subcategories emerged. Striving to provide competent care comprised the subcategories: providing access to care, improving one's qualifications and individualising care. Striving to infuse confirmation incorporated the subcategories: promoting independence, providing existential support, mediating security and comprising needs of next of kin.
Conclusions: The healthcare professionals described how they wished to develop the care further. Both nurses and physicians were consistent in wanting to provide competent and confirming care based on a holistic perspective with high accessibility to the ICD team. The findings describe how healthcare professionals strive to provide professional clinical care in order to give the patients tools to handle their life situation. They suggested that more structured education and counselling according to guidelines should be provided. They also highlighted the need to increase their own competence by improving their knowledge and skills.
Keywords: Delivery of care; follow-up; healthcare professionals; implantable cardioverter defibrillator; phenomenography.