BACKGROUND: Interpersonal relationships between clinicians and patients are important aspects of the ambulance care, requiring a balance between objectified acute medical treatment and a holistic care. Being a significant other (SO) in the ambulance care setting is described as being caught between hope and dread. Little research has focused on SOs' experiences of the relationship with the ambulance clinicians.
AIM: To elucidate meanings of the relationship with the clinicians in the ambulance care setting as experienced by the patients' SOs.
DESIGN: Qualitative lifeworld design.
METHODS: Data was collected using open-ended interviews with nine SOs. The verbatim transcribed interviews were analysed with a phenomenological hermeneutic method.
FINDINGS: The structural analysis resulted in one main theme: 'Being lonely together'. The main theme comprises three themes: 'Being in a shared struggle', 'To hand over the affected person in trust' and 'Being the second person in focus' and six subthemes. The main theme is for the SOs to share the struggles of the affected person with the ambulance clinicians and to be comforted while handing over the responsibility for the affected person. Hence the SO is excluded and lonely and on his/her own, while not the primary focus of the ambulance clinicians.
CONCLUSIONS: The relationship with the ambulance clinicians from the perspective of the SOs can be understood as complex, involving both being lonely and together at the same time. The findings support a holistic approach towards the ambulance care involving SOs.
RELEVANCE FOR CLINICAL PRACTICE: This study outlines the importance of an emergency ambulance care involving SOs as affected persons and supports a balance between emergency medical treatment to the patient and a holistic care, involving the SOs' suffering.
2016. Vol. 21, no 4, E1-E8 p.
Ambulance care; Nursing; Phenomenological hermeneutic; Professional relationship; Significant others