The experiences of adult ventilator-dependent patients: A meta-synthesis review

Shwu Feng Tsay, Pei Fan Mu*, Shirling Lin, Kai Wei Katherine Wang, Yu Chih Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Studies exploring the perceptions of patients whose lives are maintained by mechanical ventilation highlight the stressful nature of this type of experience. The objective of this meta-synthesis study was to describe the nature of the experience of adult ventilator-dependent patients. A systematic literature search of English and Chinese databases was undertaken, covering the period between 1970 and 2012. Qualitative research findings were extracted and pooled using the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument. A total of 1004 papers were identified from various database and hand searches. Nineteen papers were critically appraised and 16 met inclusion criteria. Five meta-synthesis themes emerged from the analysis: (1) the feelings of fear due to being dependent on a ventilator and the loss of control of life; (2) disconnection with reality; (3) impaired embodiment; (4) construction of coping patterns; (5) trust and caring relationship. Suggested implications for practice include enhancing the trust relationship with health professionals, as well as nursing actions throughout the suction procedure relating to release of patient's psychological distress and empowering their resilience factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-533
Number of pages9
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Adult
  • Meta-synthesis
  • Nursing care
  • Qualitative
  • Ventilator


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