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Individuals’ experiences with seeking, receiving and using health information required to assist with the self-care of thyroid disorders

Walker, Josephine (2020) Individuals’ experiences with seeking, receiving and using health information required to assist with the self-care of thyroid disorders. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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In Australia, thyroid conditions are the second most occurring endocrine disorder after diabetes and contribute to the significant societal burden attributed to chronic illness. Accessible and reliable information enables individuals to understand their condition and employ appropriate self-care practices. Global literature suggests correlations exist between health literacy and abilities to find, understand and implement information; however, the information seeking needs and behaviours of people with thyroid disorders remains unexplored.

This research aims to contribute to the understanding of people’s experiences with seeking, receiving and using thyroid related health information required to assist with self-care practices. Understanding these experiences within the Australian context can inform health professionals on information provision to help improve thyroid management and patient outcomes.

This study used an interpretive description methodology guided by Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and Australian chronic illness management frameworks. Data reflecting participants’ lived experiences were collected via focus group and individual interviews from nine adults with a thyroid condition and analysed using thematic analysis.

Four themes were identified from the analysis of qualitative data: ‘Needing knowledge and understanding’, ‘beginning to lose faith’, ‘needing affordable and collaborative support’ and ‘doing it my way’. Findings revealed participants developed feelings of mistrust and frustration as a result of the barriers to information acquisition and provision and additional experiences of ineffective and costly thyroid management emerged.

The participants’ lived experience identified outcomes of unmet information and healthcare needs as affecting self-management success. Ongoing symptoms despite medical intervention facilitated the undertaking of both credible and questionable self-guided research and management approaches. Receiving thyroid information at the time of diagnosis, with opportunities for ongoing consolidation of knowledge, could assist to improve patient wellbeing and foster more positive self-care practices.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Nursing
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Notes: Research Masters with Training
Supervisor(s): Fetherston, Catherine, Browne, Caroline and Medigovich, Kristina
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