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The haematopoietic stem cell transplant survivors’ sense of coherence about their experiences: a qualitative study

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Abstract

Purpose

To explore the experiences of haematopoietic stem cell transplant survivors attending the long-term follow-up unit.

Methods

A descriptive qualitative study of eight post-haematopoietic stem cell transplant survivors which were interviewed guided by the sense of coherence framework. Thematic analysis was used to extract meaningful explication of the survivors’ experiences.

Results

The post-haematopoietic stem cell transplant survivors interviewed were five females and three males with age ranging from 27 to 67 years and had the stem cell transplant between 4 and 20 years. Three main themes emerged from the data including (1) comprehending the experience, (2) acknowledging the meaningfulness of the experience and (3) managing threats to a new life after the transplant. The experiences of post-haematopoietic stem cell transplant survivors were initially difficult but they were able to make re-adjustments to their new life by reconciling with their new identity, refocusing on meaningful activities, strengthening their resilience and navigating the healthcare system.

Conclusion

In spite of the difficulties faced by the survivors, they were able to face the challenges and made adjustment in a positive light by focusing on the valuable aspects of their experiences. Health care practitioners need to continually support them throughout their survivorship journey no matter how long it takes. Any long-term follow-up unit is a step in the right direction to meet the complex needs of the survivors by integrating and adapting clinical guidelines into routine oncologic and transplant care so that survivors are not lost in transition following treatment.

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Correspondence to Violeta Lopez.

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Ethical approval involving humans

All procedures conformed with the ethical approval by the institution ethics committee and with the Helsinki declaration. Patients were informed of their rights to withdraw from the study without this affecting their attendance at the HSCT long-term follow-up unit.

Patient consent statement

Signed consent was obtained from all participants in this study. All data collected were de-identified to protect their privacy and maintain confidentiality.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Sharin, U.B.M., Hwang, C.C.J., Ang, W.H.D. et al. The haematopoietic stem cell transplant survivors’ sense of coherence about their experiences: a qualitative study. Support Care Cancer 28, 4275–4283 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-019-05273-3

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