Adolescents' Lived Experiences While Hospitalized After Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis

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Abstract

Adolescents are in a transitional phase of life characterized by major physical, emotional, and psychological challenges. Living with ulcerative colitis is experienced as a reduction of their life quality. Initial treatment of ulcerative colitis is medical, but surgery may be necessary when medical treatment ceases to have an effect. No research-based studies of adolescents' experience of the hospital period after surgery for ulcerative colitis exist. The objective of the study was to identify and describe adolescents' lived experiences while hospitalized after surgery for ulcerative colitis. This qualitative study was based on interviews with eight adolescents. Analysis and interpretation were based on a hermeneutic interpretation of meaning. Three themes were identified: Body: Out of order; Seen and understood; and Where are all the others? The adolescents experience a postoperative period characterized by physical and mental impairment. Being mentally unprepared for such challenges, they shun communication and interaction. The findings demonstrate the importance of individualized nursing care on the basis of the adolescent's age, maturity, and individual needs. Further study of adolescent patients' hospital stay, focusing on the implications of being young and ill at the same time, is needed.

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