A 'Pretty Normal' Life With Bronchiectasis. An Interpretive Description.
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Bronchiectasis is a chronic respiratory disease in which recurrent infection and inflammation cause abnormal and permanent dilatation of the airways resulting in recurrent respiratory infections and a chronic wet cough. It is a significant health issue in New Zealand, particularly amongst Māori and Pacific children, young people and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Using interpretive description methodology, this research explored the day-to-day life experience of a group of young people with bronchiectasis. Literature on bronchiectasis focuses largely on the improvements in diagnosis, treatment and management, with little known about the impact it has on people who live with the condition. The intention of this research is to bridge the gap and further the existing and emerging body of knowledge so that health professionals may understand the significance of bronchiectasis for the young person, come to know what is most important to them and then act and develop careplans to improve well-being and health outcomes. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants. The data were collected from 15 young people with bronchiectasis using semi-structured one on one interviews. Interviews were transcribed and data were managed by NVivo 9 software. Analysis of the participants’ experience, using an interpretive description approach, resulted in a conceptual description of life with bronchiectasis as ‘Pretty Normal’. ‘Pretty Normal’ life is made up of two co-existing views of life: ‘Just normal’ and ‘Normal to me’. These views represent how the young people balance the ups and downs of normal adolescence while learning to accommodate and adapt to the challenge of living with bronchiectasis. ‘Just normal’ represents a view of life where bronchiectasis is in the background and young people see themselves as being like their peers. ‘Normal to me’ represents a different view, where the presence of bronchiectasis is more visible and three circling thematic elements are keenly felt: sick and tired, life interrupted and looking after self. ‘Sick and tired’ describes the significant everyday symptom burden experienced by the young participants. ‘Life interrupted’ illustrates how participants’ lives are occupied with tolerable and intolerable interruptions that impact on school, social interactions, sport and family. ‘Looking after self’ describes how participants were learning how to keep themselves well and safe and learning how to take control and make decisions. All three of these thematic elements influenced and challenged participants’ view of themselves and encouraged them to find ways of coping and integrating their experiences into a new view where they described their life experience as ‘Pretty Normal’.