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The Importance of a Person-Centered Approach in Diagnostic Workups of Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Qualitative Study

Ringstrom, Gisela PhD, RN; Sjovall, Henrik PhD, MD; Simrén, Magnus PhD, MD; Ung, Eva Jakobsson PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/SGA.0000000000000011
Features

The aim of this study was to explore experiences of undergoing a diagnostic workup in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at a unit for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Research has been sparse in addressing such experiences and the impact on well-being. Patients with IBS were invited to perform a workup of gastrointestinal tests. Of 120 patients who completed the tests, 20 were invited for an interview. Analysis of interviews was conducted through interpretative phenomenological analysis. One master theme emerged: validation of IBS experience inferred from three subthemes: the duality of suffering in IBS, coping with inflicted discomfort and pain, and capacity for resilience.

Patients reported long-term suffering from symptoms including poor management within the healthcare organization. Despite inconvenience associated with the tests, patients expressed appreciation for professional attributes such as attentiveness that were perceived as a sense of being cared for and seen as a “person.” During the workup, patients acquired greater knowledge of what IBS means, including knowledge about their own body functions and experienced relief that symptoms were not caused by any “dangerous” disease. Validation of IBS experience surfaced in the data implying that in such context, patients with IBS appear to find personal solutions to cope with everyday experiences and enhance autonomy.

Gisela Ringstrom, PhD, RN, is Head Nurse, Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy and University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-Centered Care (GPCC), University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Henrik Sjovall, PhD, MD, is Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy and University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-Centered Care (GPCC), University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Magnus Simrén, PhD, MD, is Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy and University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-Centered Care (GPCC), University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Eva Jakobsson Ung, PhD, RN, is Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor, Institute of Health and Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy and University of Gothenburg Centre of Person-Centered Care (GPCC), University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Correspondence to: Gisela Ringstrom, PhD, RN, Department of Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy and University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-Centered Care (GPCC), University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden (gisela.ringstrom@vgregion.se).

Magnus Simrén received unrestricted research grants from Danone and AstraZeneca and served as a Consultant/Advisory Board member for AstraZeneca, Danone, Novartis, Almirall, and Shire/Movetis.

This study was supported by the Swedish Medical Research Council (grants 13409, 21691, and 21692), The Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, University of Gothenburg; Centre for Person-Centered Care (GPCC), Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg; the Faculty of Medicine, University of Gothenburg; and The Health and Medical Care Committee of the Regional Executive Board, Region Västra Götaland.

The other authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received March 27, 2012

Accepted June 27, 2012

© 2013 by the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.