Feasibility of a Symptom Management Intervention for Adolescents Recovering From a Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant

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Abstract

Background:

Adolescents undergoing a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) experience a variety of adverse effects and eating difficulties. Few interventions exist to assist patients with self-care after HSCT hospitalization. The Eating After Transplant (EAT!) program is a mobile phone applications developed to assist adolescents with self-management of common eating-related issues during HSCT recovery.

Objective:

This study examined the acceptability and usability of the EAT! program among adolescents and assessed the competency of the participants using the program after hospital discharge through the first 100 days after HSCT.

Methods:

A repeated-measures design was used to evaluate the EAT! application with 16 adolescent patients recovering from an allogeneic HSCT. Participants provided verbal feedback and used a Likert scale to rate acceptability and usability of the application. In addition, a tracking device monitored use of the application. Competency was measured with orientation time and independent demonstration of use of the application.

Results:

Acceptability remained high throughout the study, but use significantly decreased over time. Patients reported familiarity with the program’s content as the reason for the declining use. Competency was excellent with a short orientation period and independent demonstration throughout the study.

Conclusions:

A mobile phone application is a feasible intervention to educate adolescents with symptom management strategies. Future research needs to examine factors affecting sustainability of use over time.

Implications for Practice:

Healthcare providers need to continue to develop and evaluate innovative methods to educate adolescents on effective self-care strategies throughout HSCT recovery.

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