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Sharing the Story of the Cardiac Rehab Patient Experience


Ellis, Jordan M. MA; Freeman, John Taylor MA; Midgette, Emily P. BA; Sanghvi, Anup P.; Sarathy, Brinda; Johnson, Colin G.; Greenway, Stacey B. MA; Whited, Matthew C. PhD

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention: July 2019 - Volume 39 - Issue 4 - p E13–E15
doi: 10.1097/HCR.0000000000000429
Brief Reports

Purpose: To provide a prototypical patient narrative of the cardiac rehabilitation (CR) experience for providers and prospective patients using narrative analysis.

Methods: Qualitative interviews with 17 CR patients from a previous study regarding their experiences, reasons, and motivations related to engagement in CR were analyzed using narrative inquiry. Interviews were previously analyzed and coded for recurring themes, and these themes were implemented in an exploratory narrative inquiry to craft a CR patient “story.” A hypothetical composite character representing the varied experiences of CR patients interviewed was developed, and a patient story was constructed that reflected on an initial cardiac event, time during rehabilitation, difficult experiences, social interactions, and personal values and accomplishments.

Results: The CR patient narrative is presented for use in CR recruitment and programming materials, and in provider education.

Conclusion: The narrative analysis comprehensively provides patients with an amalgam of patient experiences and can be used by providers to gain an understanding of CR patient experiences. Further research is needed to determine whether use of the resulting narrative analysis within the referral process and/or programming could increase participation and engagement.

Using narrative inquiry of qualitative interviews with cardiac rehabilitation patients, a patient “story” was developed to offer prospective patients and providers an understanding of the patient rehabilitation experience. As the narrative analysis is implemented in patient education materials, outcomes regarding rehabilitation recruitment and retention should be monitored.

Department of Psychology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina (Ellis, Freeman, Sanghvi, Johnson, Midgette, Sarathy, and Dr Whited); and Vidant Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Greenville, North Carolina (Greenway).

Correspondence: Jordan M. Ellis, MA, Department of Psychology, East Carolina University, East Fifth St, 104 Rawl Bldg, Greenville, NC 27858 (

All authors have read and approved of the article.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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