Living with a kidney transplant: a phenomenological study


  • O. Petre
  • A. Baban


Background: Kidney transplantation is considered the most desirable treatment option for patients with end-stage renal disease. However, a transplant brings new medical and psychological issues for recipients. This study aims to explore the challenges experienced by patients throughout the transplant process, as well as the strategies they used to adapt. Method: A purposive sample of 7 kidney transplant recipients (aged 29- 65, 4 women) was selected for the study. In-depth interviews were conducted, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Findings: Based on the participant's experiences one superordinate theme emerged: "Struggle to find a new normal". The findings suggest that the transplant experience is a continuous effort to attain a sense of control over one's life, to attain normality. Seven themes arose from the data: "the day of transplantation", "the adaptation with transplant", "the self-care", "honoring the donor", "the others", "the others like me" and "integrating illness into identity". An attitude of gratitude and motivation to cope with the challenges of chronic illness was found among the stories. Each participant mentioned the faith in God enables them to go on. The recipients declared that they went through a process of personal growth. Discussion: For improving the quality of life and care of kidney transplant patients is required to know, beyond medical aspects, also the psychosocial issues that patients may experience after transplantation. The results of this study enable health care professionals to provide the appropriate support for recipients and patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplantation.





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