Exploring individuals’ perceptions and acceptability of a ‘wait and see’ approach for managing self-limiting illnesses: A qualitative study

Eman Abukmail*, Mina Bakhit*, Tammy C. Hoffmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective:
To explore individuals’ perceptions and acceptability of a ‘wait and see’ approach, and phrases to describe this, for managing self-limiting illnesses (those that typically resolve spontaneously).

Methods
Semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 30 Australians. Two researchers independently conducted a thematic analysis of interview transcripts, and all authors agreed on final themes.

Results
Four themes emerged: Interpretation of what ‘wait and see’ meant varied and encompassed whether individuals had already sought medical care; Individuals’ experiences and circumstances influenced the acceptability of a ‘wait and see’ approach; Symptom management was perceived as the most reassuring phrase to describe this approach; Individuals highly valued clear communication about a ‘wait and see’ approach and wanted a collaborative and action-oriented plan for the waiting period.

Conclusion
Individuals generally accepted a ‘wait and see’ approach, although less so for some illnesses and in some circumstances. They wanted it at least presented as an option when appropriate, with ‘symptom management’ as the preferred terminology. Clear communication and collaborative decision-making were valued.

Practice implications
When ‘wait and see’ is a reasonable option, clinicians should communicate this to patients, support them in decision-making, and provide a plan for the waiting period if the option is chosen.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108032
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume118
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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