Research Article| Volume 57, P265-270, January 2023

Download started.


Patients and caregivers perspectives of the connection between home and the transplant journey

Published:October 28, 2022DOI:


      • Patients and caregivers face challenges when relocating to access transplant care.
      • Supports are needed during relocation so the patient can focus on medical needs.
      • Patient and caregiver perspectives are needed to understand the challenges of relocation.



      For many heart failure patients, a heart transplant is required. Few hospitals in Canada perform heart transplants; thus, patients and caregivers must relocate to access transplant care.


      This study explores Canadian patients’ and caregivers’ experiences of to access transplant care and how patients and caregivers define home. The study's goal is to gain insights from the patient and caregiver experience and identify opportunities to improve the experience for those who relocate to access heart transplants. The research question was: How is the concept of home connected to the heart transplant journey?


      We conducted 18 interviews with advanced heart failure patients and caregivers, to explore patient and caregiver experiences of relocating to access transplant care. Patients and caregivers ranged in ages from 20′s to 60′s and had left their home of origin to move to a new location where medical care was available. 7 patients were male, 3 were female. All caregivers were female.


      Patients and caregivers identified three supports during relocation: other patients and caregivers, medical team and family. Patients and caregivers defined home as friends, family, community, warmth, safety, belonging and comfort.


      During relocation, patients and caregivers were supported by: other patients and caregivers, their medical team and family, and how these people made them feel: safe, warm, comfortable and that they belonged is how they defined home. The supports and definitions of home are connected; thus, a sense of home is inextricably linked to the transplant journey for patients and caregivers.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Heart & Lung: The Journal of Cardiopulmonary and Acute Care
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Heart Failure (2020). In heart and stroke foundation. Retrieved from:

        • Home
        Oxford English dictionary Online.
        Oxford University Press, 2017
        • Wood N.
        • Martin D.
        I'm a foreigner there: landscape, wellbeing and the geographies of home.
        Health Place. 2019; 62: 1-8
        • Lapum J.
        • Angus J.
        • E
        • Peter E.
        • Watt-Watson J.
        Patients’ discharge experiences: returning home after open heart surgery.
        Heart Lung. 2011; 40: 226-235
        • Heath G.
        • Greenfield S.
        • Redwood S.
        The meaning of place in families lived experience of pediatric outpatient care in different settings: a descriptive phenomenological study.
        Health Place. 2014; 31: 46-53
        • Borg M.
        • Sells D.
        • Topor A.
        • Mezzina R.
        • Marin I.
        • Davidson L.
        What makes a house a home: the role of material resources in recovery from severe mental illness.
        Am J Psychiatr Rehabil. 2005; 3: 243-256
        • Downing M.J.
        The role of home in HIV/AIDS: a visual approach to understanding human- environment interactions in the context of long-term illness.
        Health Place. 2008; 14: 313-322
        • Munck B.
        • Fridlund B.
        • Martensson J.
        Next of kin caregivers in palliative home care – from control to loss of control.
        J Adv Nurs. 2008; 64: 578-586
        • Lavoie J.
        • G
        • Kaufert J.
        • et al.
        Negotiating barriers, navigating the maze: first Nation peoples experiences of medical relocation.
        Can. Public Adm. 2015; 58: 295-314
        • Payne S.
        • Jarrett N.
        • Jeffs D.
        The impact of travel on cancer patients experiences of treatment: a literature review.
        Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2000; 9: 197-203
        • Ambroggi A.
        • Biasini C.
        • Del Giovane C.
        • Fornari F.
        • Cavanna L.
        Distance as a barrier to cancer diagnosis and treatment: review of the literature.
        Oncologist. 2015; 20: 1378-1385
        • Connelly L.M.
        What is phenomenology?.
        Medsurg Nurs. 2010; 19: 127
        • Neubauer B.E.
        • Witkop C.T.
        • Varpio L.
        How phenomenology can help us learn from the experiences of others.
        Perspect Med Educ. 2019; 8: 90-97