Background and purpose: There is little documented evidence of young people with congenital cardiac disease being consulted as to what help, if any, they really need in relation to their condition. Most research concentrates on the medical aspects of the condition. There are studies of psychological and social functioning, but few have directly sought the opinions of the young people. More recent research has indicated a need for health professionals to develop services to meet both psychosocial and physical needs of young people with congenital cardiac disease. The findings of the recent Kennedy Report support this need. The purpose of this study was to explore the views of young people with a range of congenital cardiac conditions, on what would help them better deal with their condition, and when and how help might be provided. Methods: This was a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. We interviewed 16 young people in their own home. Interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. Analysis was conducted using the “Framework” method. Results: Whilst most of the young people interviewed actively manage their condition, they think more support from others would be beneficial. Issues of activity and communication were cited most often as areas requiring more understanding from people they interact with, for example teachers and peers. The discussion focuses on how health professionals might change or develop their practice to help young people better cope with their condition. Conclusions: Most of the young people interviewed in this study had developed their own strategies for coping with their condition. Although this is a small study, the young people provided important suggestions as to how health professionals could better develop current services.
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