A qualitative descriptive study of youth with Crohn's disease
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This qualitative descriptive study explores the experience of four youth between the ages of 16-21 years who were diagnosed with Crohn’s disease within 18 months of commencement of this study. Patients with Crohn’s disease have been reported as coping well with the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of their condition, although other researchers have argued that these people needed a lot of support and assistance to live with the daily symptoms, severity of their disease and efforts to cope. Single, semi-structured audio-taped interviews were carried out to discover the participant’s feelings, perceptions and thoughts. Thematic analysis of the verbatim-transcribed interviews was conducted. This study has identified three main themes that describe young peoples’ experiences coping with a chronic lifelong condition that significantly impacts aspects of their lives. These themes are: 1) Stress as integral to living with Crohn’s disease, 2) The paradoxical relationship between fear and hope and 3) What helps and what hinders. Each theme is discussed in relation to school, study, work, social situations, family, peers, and the future. Clearly articulating what it is like for youth to live with Crohn’s disease will contribute to the ‘promoting wellness’ literature and inform the collaborative endeavours of patients, their support networks and health professionals in relation to the delivery of health care. Working closely with other health care professionals, skilled and well-informed nurses are in an ideal position to coordinate the seamless provision of services to people with chronic illness.