How Patients Who Are Transported by Ambulance Experience Dyspnea and the Use of a Dyspnea Scale: A Qualitative Study


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Approximately 7% of all dispatched ambulances in Denmark are for patients for whom breathing difficulties are the main cause for using ambulance services. Objective measurements are routinely carried out in the ambulances, but little is known of the patients' subjective experience of dyspnea. The purpose of this study was to investigate how patients with acute dyspnea, transported to hospital by ambulance, experience their situation, along with their experience of the use of a dyspnea scale. The study was carried out in the North Denmark Region. Transcribed patient interviews and field notes were analyzed and interpreted with inspiration from Paul Ricoeur. For interviews, we included 12 patients with dyspnea who were transported to the hospital by ambulance: six women and six men all aged 60 years or above. Observations were made over six ambulance transports related to dyspnea. Three themes emerged: "anxiety", "reassurance in the ambulance" and "acceptance of the dyspnea measurements in the ambulance". Several patients expressed anxiety due to their dyspnea, which was substantiated by observations in the ambulance. The patients expressed different perspectives on what improved the situation (treatment, reassurance by ambulance professionals). The patients and the ambulance personnel were, in general, in favor of the dyspnea scale.
dyspnea, prehospital emergency care, patient's experience, breathing difficulties, interview
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