To read this content please select one of the options below:

A descriptive phenomenological study of critically ill elderly patients’ experiences of treatment using high-flow nasal cannula after extubation

Watchara Tabootwong (Faculty of Nursing, Burapha University, Chonburi, Thailand)
Yoongtong Nathmontri (Respiratory Care Unit, Central Chest Institute of Thailand, Nonthaburi, Thailand)
Chonticha Chantakeeree (Faculty of Nursing, Burapha University, Chonburi, Thailand)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 15 May 2024




This study aims to describe the experiences of critically ill elderly patients (CIEPs) who were treated using the high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) after extubation.


A descriptive phenomenological approach was conducted to interview eleven CIEPs using face-to-face semi-unstructured interviews. Participants were selected through purposive sampling. Data were analyzed using Giorgi’s method.


Experiences of CIEPs included their fears of failure, getting comfortable and uncomfortable, as well as asking for assistance. Fears of failure were described as involving worsening symptoms related to their diseases and failure of HFNC leading to the need for reintubation. While receiving HFNC, their breathing was comfortable, and they were free from intubation. However, they were uncomfortable because of the sensation of burning in the nasal passages. Additionally, they asked for assistance from nurses in managing their symptoms, and the alarms of HFNC oxygen therapy devices resulted in fears of HFNC failure.


The paper indicates that CIEPs experienced physical and psychological impacts from HFNC oxygen therapy (e.g. burning sensation in the nose and fear of failure). Although they had comfortable breathing, being uncomfortable also occurred. Therefore, health-care professionals should support what CIEPs need and develop a program or guidelines for managing the complications of HFNC – neither burning noses nor psychological issues enhance the comfort of CIEPs – by considering age-related changes.



The authors greatly appreciate the participants who were willing to participate in this study. Additionally, the authors would like to deeply thank the Central Chest Institute of Thailand and the Faculty of Nursing, Burapha University for supporting and giving us the opportunity to do this research.

Conflict of interest statement: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


Tabootwong, W., Nathmontri, Y. and Chantakeeree, C. (2024), "A descriptive phenomenological study of critically ill elderly patients’ experiences of treatment using high-flow nasal cannula after extubation", Working with Older People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles