"Being somewhere else" - delusion or relevant experience? A phenomenological investigation into the meaning of lived experience from being in intensive care

Article English OPEN
Storli, Sissel L. ; Lindseth, Anders ; Asplund, Kenneth (2010)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being (issn: 1748-2631, eissn: 1748-2631)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/qhw.v2i3.4955

Patients' experiences of having been "elsewhere" during intensive care than in the intensive care unit (ICU) has traditionally been placed in a context with described pathological circumstances, such as brain dysfunction, and labeled with terms such as "unreal" and "delusional". The aim of the study was to look more closely into this type of experience by turning to its meaning as reflected on by patients themselves. Through a phenomenological investigation based on follow-up and interviews with three patients, we found that the "delusions" were in fact filled with meaning. They mattered to the patients and were not to be dismissed as unreal because they were so inherently real in the lived body. The experiences were grounded in the patient's lifeworld and could be interpreted as expressions of basic aspects related to being human in the world. The phenomenological term "lived mood" emerged as one such aspect to which intensive care patients appear to surrender more readily than man does in daily existence. The notion of "being somewhere else" as meaningful and relevant experience challenges the explanatory model whereby such experiences are placed in a context with brain dysfunction. Key words: Delusion, intensive care, lifeworld, mood, patient experiences, phenomenology
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