oa South African Family Practice - The experience and psychosocial needs of patients with traumatic fractures treated for more than six months at Doctors on Call for Service Hospital, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo : original research
Background: Trauma-related consultations, admissions and complications are the leading problems at Doctors on Call for Service (DOCS) Hospital, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, and yet no studies have been carried out to document the experience of long-stay traumatic-fracture patients in this hospital.
Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the experience and psychosocial needs of patients with traumatic fractures treated for more than six months at DOCS Hospital.
Methods: Six free-attitude interviews were conducted with purposively selected patients. The interviews were recorded with a tape recorder and transcribed verbatim, and content analysis was used to identify themes from the interviews.
Results: All patients could clearly connect the injury experience to severe pain that lingered on for weeks or months for some patients, accompanied by other symptoms such as insomnia, poor appetite and psychological symptoms. Most patients felt disabled, were abandoned by relatives or friends and experienced financial problems. Some benefited from the injury by way of strengthened marital links. Some patients complained of poor information about their illness and the management plan and did not appreciate the treatment from caregivers, while some disclosed their needs and expectations and appreciated the caregivers who showed interest in them.
Conclusions: The experience of long-term trauma has negative effects on the whole person of the patient, including his or her work and family, and some patients continue to suffer from the effects of the traumatic event up to six months later. The needs of patients suffering from trauma include reassurance by physicians and nurses, more information and participation in the decision-making process, regular visits from friends and family, and better bedside manners from caregivers.
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