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The health literacy and patient discharge experience dyad after cardiac surgery: an exploratory study.

Health literacy concerns the ability to access, appraise and use information to maintain good health. The purpose of this study was to explore the health literacy of older adults and their experiences after cardiac surgery. A purposive sample of eight patients (aged ≥65 years) who had undergone cardiac surgery participated in this qualitative study. A validated health literacy assessment instrument was used to gather data on their health literacy levels. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant to explore the experiences of recovery in the immediate and medium-term post-discharge period. The data from the assessment instrument and the interviews were analysed and collated. Data analysis gave rise to seven themes: aftermath of cardiac surgery; settling in; whirlwind of emotions; shifting perspective; faith and hope; sense of community; and COVID-19 experience. The findings suggest health literacy plays a part in a patient's cardiac surgical discharge experience, along with other factors. As patients' responses and experiences vary, health professionals need to adopt a context-sensitive approach when discharging patients after surgery.

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