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“Wounds Home Alone”—Why and How Venous Leg Ulcer Patients Self-Treat Their Ulcer: A Qualitative Content Study

1
Medical Faculty, Department of Family Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Poljanski nasip 58, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
2
Study of Nursing, Bjelovar University of Applied Sciences, Trg. E.Kvaternika 4, Bjelovar 43000, Croatia
3
Polyclinic Marija, Kneza Mislava 2, Zagreb 10000, Croatia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040559
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Background: Venous leg ulcers (VLUs), the most common type of leg ulcerations, have long healing times and high recurrence rates; reimbursement rules and a general shortage of nursing staff have put self-treatment into focus. The study aimed to investigate why and how patients with VLUs self-treat their ulcers. Methods: Patients with VLUs (N = 32) were selected by criterion sampling for a multicentric qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. The interviews were analyzed via inductive qualitative content analysis. Results: More than two-thirds of participants sometimes self-treated VLU and one quarter changed their prescribed treatment. Experiences were expressed through four themes as follows: (a) current local VLU therapy; (b) VLU self-treatment; (c) patient education; and (d) psychosocial issues. The main reasons for self-treatment were a lack of healthcare resources, reimbursement restrictions, and dissatisfaction with conventional treatment together with insufficient knowledge about the wound-healing process and possible side effects. No educational materials were provided for patients or caregivers. Many patients adopted homemade remedies. Conclusion: Patients with VLUs practice self-care due to limited healthcare availability, a low awareness of the causes of their condition, and the effects of therapy on VLU healing. Future educational intervention is needed to enhance self-treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: chronic wound; venous leg ulcer; self-treatments; nurse; home care nurse; informal caregiver chronic wound; venous leg ulcer; self-treatments; nurse; home care nurse; informal caregiver
MDPI and ACS Style

Žulec, M.; Rotar-Pavlič, D.; Puharić, Z.; Žulec, A. “Wounds Home Alone”—Why and How Venous Leg Ulcer Patients Self-Treat Their Ulcer: A Qualitative Content Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 559. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040559

AMA Style

Žulec M, Rotar-Pavlič D, Puharić Z, Žulec A. “Wounds Home Alone”—Why and How Venous Leg Ulcer Patients Self-Treat Their Ulcer: A Qualitative Content Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(4):559. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040559

Chicago/Turabian Style

Žulec, Mirna; Rotar-Pavlič, Danica; Puharić, Zrinka; Žulec, Ana. 2019. "“Wounds Home Alone”—Why and How Venous Leg Ulcer Patients Self-Treat Their Ulcer: A Qualitative Content Study" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 4: 559. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040559

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