TBA (22W116)

A Qualitative Descriptive Study Exploring The Help-Seeking Experiences Of Those Living With Inflammatory Bowel Disease From Healthcare Professionals


C.Byron1,2, E. Lehane2, A. Burton2, & N. Cornally2


1- Department of Gastroenterology, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork 2- School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, College Rd., Cork


Essential self-management tools include conceptualising the problem, acknowledging the need for external help and knowing where to seek help from. Help-seeking behaviour (HSB) is a relatively new concept to health services research and has been infrequently applied to the area of IBD. When IBD-related challenges are beyond self-resolution, patients require help and support from healthcare professionals (HCPs) to overcome such challenges. This engagement must be facilitated when needed, as opposed to at crisis point, often resulting in the use of less appropriate sources of seeking help.


In light of the paucity of research of HSB in IBD, the aim of this study was to explore the help-seeking experiences of patients living with IBD for the challenges associated with IBD from HCPs.


A qualitative descriptive design, eluding from a naturalistic perspective was employed to conduct one-to-one semi-structured interviews with ten participants living with IBD, recruited from two University Hospitals providing IBD care in Ireland. Transcripts were analysed using latent pattern content analysis.


Five themes emerged from the data inclusive of ‘triggers’, ‘support’, ‘help-seeking hesitancy’, ‘help-seeking decision pathway’ and ‘information and communications technology’.


The results of this study demonstrated that the participants’ primary source of help-seeking is the IBD nurse. There appeared to be a notable gap from the participants’ perspective of shared care between primary and tertiary care. The frequently reported triggers for seeking help were physical symptoms as well as disease management, results, medications, advice, diet, information, and administrative needs. The need for both formal and informal psychological support was identified by participants.