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Qualitative Studies on the Patient’s Experience of Weaning From Mechanical Ventilation*

Deborah J. Cook, MD; Maureen O. Meade, MD; Anne G. Perry, RN, EdD
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*From the Department of Medicine (Drs. Cook and Meade), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and the School of Nursing (Ms. Perry), St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO.

Correspondence to: Deborah J. Cook, MD, McMaster University, Faculty of Health Sciences Center, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, 1200 Main St West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; e-mail: debcook@mcmaster.ca



Chest. 2001;120(6_suppl):469S-473S. doi:10.1378/chest.120.6_suppl.469S
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In contrast to primarily deductive quantitative research, qualitative research aims to interpret data to develop theoretical insights that describe and explain phenomena such as interactions, experiences, roles, perspectives, and organizations. In this review, we summarize qualitative studies that used primarily in-depth personal interviews as a data collection method and a grounded theory analytic approach. The liberal use of illustrative excerpts and interpretive descriptions offer clinicians vicarious accounts of patient experiences of weaning from mechanical ventilation. Important experiences of patients during their weaning from mechanical ventilation included frustration, uncertainty, hopelessness, fear, and lack of mastery. The extent to which, in at least some patients, these experiences were determinants of weaning failure, consequences of weaning failure, or both, was difficult to establish. An assumption of this genre of research is that if clinicians understand the lived experiences of patients, they can better appreciate patient needs during the weaning process, and by inference, their role as clinicians during weaning from mechanical ventilation.


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