Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Allen J. Orsi, PhD, RN, Chairperson; Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Member; Major L. King, PhD, RN, Member


Cardiopulmonary Arrest, Exploratory study, functional status, hospital discharge, nursing, Post-Cardiac Arrest


Cardiopulmonary arrest is a major health problem, claiming 350,000 to 450,000 lives per year in the United States, but survival has increased to 49% from the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) by lay personnel. Leidy's work on functional status is a comprehensive framework to describe functional status and has not been used in this population. The specific aims of the project were to describe perceived functional capacity, physical functional performance, mental health, symptom distress, and demographic factors in survivors of cardiopulmonary arrest after discharge to home and to examine the relationship among perceived functional capacity, mental health and physical functional performance in the survivor of cardiopulmonary arrest after discharge to home. This study used a convenience sample, with a mixed method descriptive correlation design to determine the relationships among the study variables. As a comparison group non-cardiac arrest post myocardial infarction subjects actively engaged in cardiac rehabilitation were recruited. Three qualitative questions were added to further explore the quantitative findings of the study increasing the richness of the study. Overall significant findings suggested that in the cardiac arrest group, symptom distress had a negative influence in the ability to participate in social activities and roles at work or within family settings. Symptom distress also had an inverse relationship in the total number of daily steps taken, as symptom distress increased, daily average steps decreased suggesting that control of symptoms such as nausea and fatigue are important factors in functional status and mental health in this sample. In the non-cardiac arrest group, physical functioning, the ability to perform physical activities, had a positive influence in their control of symptom distress, participation in social activities and role perception, suggesting that an increased number of daily steps taken increases participation in social activities and increases role perception. This finding was supported by the fact the non-cardiac arrest group was actively engaged in a cardiac rehabilitation program twice a week for eight weeks. In this study it was demonstrated there are multiple variables that impact one's functional status and it is imperative that healthcare providers seek and understand the most important factors that influence one's perceived functional status and mental health as this has significant importance in the cardiac arrest survivor's recovery.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons