The Pain Experience of Patients Hospitalized With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Phenomenological Study

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Pain is personal, subjective, and best treated when the patient's experience is fully understood. Hospitalization contributes to the physical and psychological complications of acute and chronic pain experienced by patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to develop an understanding of the unique experience of pain in hospitalized patients with an admitting diagnosis of IBD and related care or surgery. Following institutional review board approval, purposeful sampling was used to recruit 16 patients (11 female, 5 male, mean age 41.8 years) from two 36-bed colorectal units of a large academic medical center in the Midwest. Individual, audio-recorded interviews were conducted by a researcher at each participant's bedside. Recordings and transcripts were systematically reviewed by the research team using Van Manen's approach to qualitative analysis. Subsequently, 5 major themes were identified among the data: feeling discredited and misunderstood, desire to dispel the stigma, frustration with constant pain, need for caregiver knowledge and understanding, and nurse as connector between patient and physician. Hospitalized patients with IBD have common issues with pain care. Nurses caring for them can provide better pain management when they understand these issues/themes. Further research into the themes discovered here is recommended.

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