Aims and objectives: To investigate the incidence of and contributors to demoralisation syndrome among patients before and after cardiac surgery. Background: Demoralisation syndrome is a common but neglected phenomenon in nursing practice. Patients who require cardiac surgery experience demoralisation syndrome more often than they experience depression. Design: A prospective correlational design was applied. Methods: A convenience sample of 76 participants undergoing cardiac surgery was recruited from the cardiovascular wards of two medical centres in Taiwan. The instruments applied included the Demoralization Scale (DS), the Patient Outcome Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the Perception of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Stay Questionnaire. Results: High demoralisation was present in 44.7% of the participants before surgery but significantly decreased to 36.8% after surgery (p <.05); conversely, depression was present in 15.8% of participants before surgery and did not significantly decrease after surgery (rate after surgery, 9.2%; p >.05). A multiple regression analysis using the backward-selection method showed that depression (p <.001) and retirement (p <.05) were important predictors of pre-operative demoralisation syndrome (R2 = 0.250), whereas depression (p <.001) and perceptions of ICU stay (p >.05) remained in the regression model after surgery (R2 = 0.291). Conclusions: The study findings suggest that demoralisation syndrome is highly prevalent in patients undergoing cardiac surgery but is significantly reduced after cardiac surgery. Before surgery, depression and retirement were significant predictors of demoralisation. After surgery, depression was the only predictor. Although the perception of ICU stay was not an important predictor, it was significantly correlated with demoralisation. Relevance to clinical practice: Before cardiac surgery, nurses should emphasise the importance of demoralisation development among patients who suffer from depressive symptoms and are retired. After cardiac surgery, continued follow-up is needed for the early detection and minimisation of the effect of depression and the development of demoralisation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes