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Symptoms, functioning, well-being, and general health perceptions of bone marrow transplant recipients Gue, Deborah Sutherland


The purpose of this study was to address the need for knowledge about the impact of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) on the life of the individual following discharge from the hospital. Specifically, symptoms, personal and social/role functioning, psychological distress/well-being, and general health perceptions of BMT recipients were described. Furthermore, the relationship between these variables and time since BMT, and type of BMT was also explored. Participants from an accessible population of individuals who had their BMT in one of two western Canadian hospitals completed the BMT Symptom Distress Inventory, the Sickness Impact Profile, the Social Adjustment Scale - Self Report, the Cantril Self-Anchoring Scale, the Profile of Mood States, and the Demographic Information, Illness and Treatment History Data Collection Guide. Symptoms were found to be a significant feature of the post-BMT experience with regard to frequency and associated distress. Symptoms that were reported as occurring most frequently and having the greatest degree of associated distress fell into the categories of sexuality symptoms, miscellaneous problems, and joint symptoms. Personal functioning appeared to be at a higher level than that of a comparison group of BMT recipients, and at a lower level than that of a comparison group of renal transplant patients. A large percentage of respondents who described their usual roles as workers for pay, reported a favorable level of functioning in this area with approximately 90% of the group presently working. Total mood disturbance and other aspects of psychological distress/well-being were found to be a less favorable feature of the post-BMT experience in this sample. BMT recipients rated their current health and life satisfaction as lower than that of the average person and before they were ill and required treatment; however, they showed a trend toward anticipation of a higher level of health and life satisfaction in the future. A statistically significant relationship between the post-BMT functioning variables and four post-BMT time frame variables was not demonstrated. However, there was a statistically significant difference in psychological distress/well-being between the autologous and allogeneic BMT recipient groups suggesting less psychological distress in the autologous BMT group. The findings were discussed in relation to the conceptual framework for the study, and other research findings. Implications for nursing practice, nursing research, and program development and resource allocation were also suggested.

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