Uncertainty in illness among people living with mental ill health - a mental health nursing perspective

Authors: Wolfensberger, P., Hahn, S., van Teijlingen, E. and Thomas, S.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/32691/

Journal: British Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Volume: 8

Issue: 4

Pages: 181-187

Publisher: Mark Allen Healthcare

eISSN: 2052-496X

ISSN: 2049-5919

Background: Uncertainty in illness is a well-known concept in health care literature. A considerable volume of research has investigated how people adapt to different health conditions and how the concept of uncertainty in illness relates to those populations. However, while there is substantial literature focusing on coping strategies and personal recovery, there is a paucity of research about uncertainty in illness among people living with mental ill health. Aims: To explore the concept of uncertainty in illness among mental health nurses and to provide an understanding of its relevance to people living with mental ill health.

Method: Thematic analysis of a focus group of mental health nurses.

Findings: Uncertainty in illness among people living with mental ill health exists and manifests itself in various ways: uncertainty in the context of loss, uncertainty as a stimulus for change and uncertainty as an integral part of the human experience and existence. Conclusions: Even though contemporary approaches in mental health nursing do not directly address uncertainty, the concept and its implications need to be considered and raised further among mental health professionals in order to improve support for people living with mental ill health in their process of personal recovery.

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