Qualitative Research on the Meaning the Health Professionals Ascribe to Rare Symptoms

Prandi, Cesarina and Culotta, Paola and Resta, Daniela and Boggio Gilot, Chiara and Bertetto, Oscar (2012) Qualitative Research on the Meaning the Health Professionals Ascribe to Rare Symptoms. UNSPECIFIED. Palliative medicine, 26 (4).

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For health professionals the term rare-symptoms represents an area of doubtful interpretation, both for the meaning that the adjective rare assumes and because the term can qualify a symptom and its treatment. Beside this, such a definition can bring about a corollary of clues that may affect the treatment, evidence-based or non-conventional. Primary objective: To bring knowledge and discussion in the Palliative Care Deparments of Piedmont and Aosta Valley on the following items: a) the rarity of the symptom is due to a real infrequent manifestation or to a poor assessment, detection and reporting? b) Do exist symptoms, not widely aknowledged in literature, which occur on a recurring basis in the daily practice? c) How much does the frequency affect the perception of the severity of the symptom? d) There may be a possible interpretation of the meaning of “rare symptom”? Tools and methods: Qualitative study, phenomenological, multicentric. Running and analyzing focus groups, we intend to interview senior physicians and nurses working in palliative care units, in order to agree on the definition of rare sign/symptom and draw up a list of infrequent symptoms accordingly to the terms agreed. The qualitative analysis of the focus groups will be carried out using the program N-Vivo. Expected outcomes: Identify descriptors of rare signs / symptoms according to the practical experience of health professionals working in palliative care units. For each sign-symptom will be identified the fallout on the quality of life, on the treatment (pharmacological and/or not), and the monitoring procedures. The study is ongoing and the results will be available from January 2012. Funding: Oncological Network of Piedmont and Aosta Valley

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