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Exploratory study to identify situations patients perceive as comfort or discomfort promoting, and the coping responses they utilize in adapting to discomfort promoting experiences during the diagnostic regime Bredlow, Walter Axel

Abstract

An exploratory study was conducted on 25 male and female patients who were admitted to a 29-bed surgical unit of a 450-bed general hospital, for diagnostic testing. The purpose of the study was to answer the following questions: (1) What situations does the patient perceive as helping him feel comfortable while he is experiencing the diagnostic regime? (2) What situations does the patient perceive as making him feel uncomfortable while he is experiencing the diagnostic regime? (3) What coping responses does the patient utilize in adapting to discomfort promoting situations during the diagnostic regime? The data for the study were collected through the utilization of a structured questionnaire for the initial visit and taped interviews with the selected patients. During the interviews, particular emphasis was placed upon exploring the patients' concerns by the use of Orlando's Open-Ended Interview Technique and a modified version of the Critical Incident Technique. The results were then categorized into themes of patient responses, tabulated, and analyzed. The results of the study revealed that the situations the patient perceived as promoting comfort or discomfort were dependent upon two significant variables: (1) The degree to which the patient's personal value system needs were met during the diagnostic regime; (2) The patient's ability to mobilize adaptive coping responses to deal with the stresses created by the diagnostic regime. The coping responses utilized by the patients in adapting to discomfort promoting experiences in hospital were numerous and highly diversified. It was noted that the patients' ability to cope adaptively was primarily influenced by their evaluation of what was happening to them. In turn, this evaluation was affected by their past experience, their present biopsychosocial state, and the duration of the uncomfortable experience.

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