Knowledge Deficits and Information-Seeking Behavior in Leg Ulcer Patients: An Exploratory Qualitative Study

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Abstract

PURPOSE:

The aim of this study was to explore knowledge deficits and underlying processes in information-seeking behavior in patients with leg ulcers.

METHOD:

A qualitative approach based on grounded theory methods with constant comparison was used. Semistructured interviews were held with 15 patients with venous leg ulcers in community care settings and wound care clinics between October 2008 and June 2009. Data processing and data analysis occurred via a cyclic process.

RESULTS:

Patients did not express a clear understanding of the causes of ulcers or their own contribution to enhance leg ulcer healing. They often lacked knowledge about relevant lifestyle advice and its relationship to healing or recurrence. During the leg ulcer trajectory, different leg ulcer perceptions were present: the ulcer as a trifle, the ulcer as a wound not healing on its own and making everyday life impossible, the ulcer as a skin problem, and the ulcer as a chronic condition. These perceptions defined patients' actions in leg ulcer care.

CONCLUSION:

Leg ulcer patients often have inadequate knowledge of their condition and related lifestyle advice. Patients require greater knowledge about their condition before they can understand their treatment and recognize their role in promoting healing.

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