Living with a long-term condition: whose intended outcomes?

Authors: Roddis, J., Bond, C., Holloway, I. and Galvin, K.

Start date: 18 August 2014

Background: Long-term conditions affect large numbers of people; in England, where this study took place, 20million people have at least one long-term condition (Parliament 2013). Research into how affected individuals view life with their condition is frequently approached from the perspective that having a long-term condition is problematic (for example, Price 1996; Ersser et al. 2010). Aim: The study aim was to explore and explain perspectives on and understanding of a long-term condition, and the influence of these on life with the condition, from the point of view of affected individuals. Thrombophilia and asthma were used as exemplars. Methods: A constructivist grounded theory study was undertaken, using interviews to collect data. This was analysed using constant comparison, where data is compared with other data, findings and the emergent theory. Data collection and analysis were undertaken iteratively. Results: The findings indicate that individuals with a long-term condition make decisions regarding which medications and behaviours to adopt, based on a combination of advice from healthcare professionals, information from other sources and personal experiences. Discussion: At the heart of these informed decisions are the outcomes patients wish to achieve from managing their condition, which may differ from outcomes intended by healthcare professionals. Conclusion: Through working with patients, nurses can investigate their desired outcomes and will be able to offer support or advice regarding possible misunderstandings. Importantly, they will be better placed to support patients in achieving the outcomes they wish for and to target health promotion and illness prevention strategies to patients’ perspectives.

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