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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Patient perspectives on health care system navigation : the chronic illness multi-morbidity experience Ravenscroft, Eleanor Fay


Meeting the health care needs of people with chronic conditions presents one of the greatest challenges for 21st century health care system renewal. Appropriate redesign of health care delivery with this complex patient population in mind requires information from many sources. Although much is known about the patient experience of chronic illness much less is understood about how patients navigate their health care delivery context. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the point of view of patients dealing with multi-morbidity. These people have a unique understanding of how health care delivery links across time, place, and settings because of the care they require for their multiple chronic conditions. An interpretive descriptive design was used to examine patient navigation from the perspective of 20 adult patients with chronic kidney disease, and co-existing diagnoses of diabetes mellitus and/or cardiovascular disease. The findings generated from iterative, constant comparative analysis add important patient perspectives about health care system navigation. From the consumer perspective health care navigation is challenging, requiring (a) ongoing discovery about the complex social structures that make up the health care system, and (b) learning how to strategically use this knowledge to manage the health care system. The findings highlight the disjunctures and misalignments in the health care delivery system, the cumulative health care-related burden of multiple chronic conditions for consumers, and consumer concerns about subtle inequities in the health care system. As health care renewal efforts gain momentum new knowledge from the perspective of consumers, such as that captured in this research, is important. The consumer perspective provides a valuable opportunity for stakeholders in health care policy- and decision-making to contextualize and make greater sense of the information used in making decisions about health care service delivery for vulnerable populations, like patients with multiple chronic conditions.

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