Adolescent Perspectives Following Ostomy Surgery: A Grounded Theory Study

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PURPOSE:This purpose of this study was to provide a theoretical account of how adolescents aged 13 to 18 years process the experience of having an ostomy.DESIGN:Qualitative study using grounded theory design.SUBJECTS AND SETTING:The sample comprised of 12 English-speaking adolescents aged 13-18 years: 10 with an ostomy and 2 with medical management of their disease.METHODS:Respondents completed audio-recorded interviews that were transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method until data saturation occurred. Dedoose, a Web-based qualitative methods management tool, was used to capture major themes arising from the data.RESULTS:Study results indicate that for adolescents between 13 and 18 years of age, processing the experience of having an ostomy includes concepts of the “physical self” and “social self” with the goal of “normalizing.” Subcategories of physical self include (a) changing reality, (b) learning, and (c) adapting. Subcategories of social self include (a) reentering and (b) disclosing.CONCLUSIONS:This study sheds light on how adolescents process the experience of having an ostomy and how health care providers can assist adolescents to move through the process to get back to their desired “normal” state. Health care providers can facilitate the adolescent through the ostomy experience by being proactive in conversations not only about care issues but also about school and family concerns and spirituality. Further research is needed in understanding how parents process their adolescents' ostomy surgery experience and how spirituality assists adolescents in coping and adjustment with body-altering events.

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