- What are adult patients’ and their caregivers’ experiences and perspectives of advanced diagnostic imaging for cardiac conditions?
Scanning was an activity fraught with anxiety and worry, from start to finish. Patients, however, drew on a variety of strategies to cope with the discomfort of the scan. Further, scans were seen as important by patients for the ways they revealed what is going on inside of their bodies and could guide decisions on the most appropriate interventions.Patient-provider communication was viewed by patients as essential, and attending to patients’ information needs contributed to more positive scanning experiences. Information needs include but extend beyond clinical information (e.g., benefits and risks of scanning, how to prepare for the scan) to information about the process and pathway of attending a scan. Patients want to come prepared to their scanning appointment, and their understanding what is required of them can be supported by conversations that include the provision of written material. Ensuring patients have clear understanding on why they are undergoing imaging and why it is important, and what they can expect the process to look like can support alignment between expectations and experiences which appears to facilitate positive experiences of undergoing imaging.Additionally, patients found frequent contact with staff as a source of emotional reassurance and comfort. At the imaging unit, staff can help by creating a supportive and more familiar environment for patients through music, décor, and warmth (temperature). Ensuring patients have time to ask questions through the process of undergoing the scan and that staff are present and attentive throughout support patients feeling more at ease. In this way, patient-provider interactions figure prominently in how patients experience diagnostic scans. Where patients’ expectations did not match their experiences, this tended to lead to less positive experiences and greater worry and discomfort on the part of the patient.