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Sensory Perceptions of Patients With Cancer Undergoing Surgical Insertion of a Totally Implantable Venous Access Device: A Qualitative, Exploratory Study

Eva Goossens
Godelieve A. Goossens
Marguerite Stas
Christel Janssens
Martine Jérôme
Philip Moons
ONF 2011, 38(1), E20-E26 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.E20-E26

Purpose/Objectives: To investigate sensory perceptions of patients who underwent insertion of a totally implantable venous access device (TIVAD) under local anesthesia.

Research Approach: Qualitative, exploratory study.

Setting: Tertiary care center in Belgium.

Participants: 20 adult patients with cancer or hematologic disease undergoing a first-time TIVAD insertion.

Methodologic Approach: Immediately after insertion, patients were asked to describe their sensory perceptions during each of four phases. Descriptions were documented in a sensory information grid (SIG) that was composed of a row and column matrix of entries for the four phases of the procedure and the five sensory modalities. Verbatim descriptions of patients were assigned labels using a descriptive coding process.

Main Research Variables: Sensory perceptions in the modalities of hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste.

Findings: Patients experienced many sensory perceptions that mainly occurred during preparation of the patients and surgical equipment (phase 2) and during the actual TIVAD insertion (phase 3). Patients perceived fewer olfactory sensations. No taste perceptions were mentioned.

Conclusions: Patients reported numerous sensory perceptions during TIVAD insertion. The SIG method proved suitable for assessing and documenting patients' sensory perceptions.

Interpretation: The reported descriptions can be used (a) to develop a structured questionnaire to quantitatively assess sensory perceptions and (b) to prepare patients for what to expect with regard to sensory information experienced before, during, and after TIVAD insertion. This method for exploring and documenting sensory perceptions might be applicable to other diagnostic or therapeutic interventions.

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