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Spinal-Cord-Injured Individual’s Experiences of Having a Partner

A Phenomenological–Hermeneutic Study

Angel, Sanne

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: June 2015 - Volume 47 - Issue 3 - p E2–E8
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000135

ABSTRACT Having a partner is a strong factor in adaptation to the new life situation with a spinal cord injury (SCI). Still, more knowledge in detail about the partner’s influences according to the experiences of individuals with SCI could contribute to the understanding of the situation after an injury. The aim of this phenomenological–hermeneutic article is to achieve a deeper understanding of nine individuals’ experiences the first 2 years after SCI. In rehabilitation after SCI, the partner supported the SCI individual’s life spirit by not giving up and by still seeing possibilities in the future. The partner reinforced the SCI individual’s commitment to life by sharing experiences; providing love, trust, and hope; and giving priority to the best things in life for the SCI individual. This implied cohabitation providing concrete help and an intimacy that helped to cope with problems and anxieties and allowed SCI individuals the ability to self-realize. This promoted feelings of profound gratitude but also dependency. Thus, the SCI individual benefitted from the partner’s support mentally and physically, which enabled a life that would not otherwise be possible.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Sanne Angel, PhD, at She is an Associate Professor, Department of Nursing Science, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

© 2015 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses