The Patient Experience of Treatment for Hepatitis C


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Abstract

This study has used qualitative hermeneutics to explore the patient's experience of treatment for hepatitis C. Hepatitis C treatment may pose numerous physical and emotional challenges. There is a need to understand the experience from a holistic nursing perspective in order to facilitate the patient's well-being. Individuals undergoing combination treatment for hepatitis C participated in a hermeneutic dialogue, which provided the investigators with an emic perspective. Dialogue content, reflection, and preunderstanding were hermeneutically analyzed. Similar treatment experiences elicited four common emotions (sadness, anger, fear, and frustration). Analyzing the similar experiences led to two emerging themes: (1) “That is not who I am,” connoted by rejecting the notion of being a “typical” patient, seeing treatment as not so bad, being “different” during treatment, and feeling abandoned because of treatment; and (2) “looking beyond the experience” was noted by looking for faith beyond traditional healthcare and looking for understanding. The hepatitis C treatment experience was seen as a process: having a start, a middle, and an end, without being all-consuming. Implications for holistic nursing care are presented.

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