Self‐Management Recommendations for Sickle Cell Disease: A Content Analysis of Websites

This paper reports on the findings of a study designed to establish website-based self-management recommendations for sickle cell disease. Google and Yahoo search engines were used to search the World-Wide-Web. Purposive sampling was utilized to select 28 websites that met the inclusion criteria. Data were manually collected from health education materials and subjected to qualitative content analysis. Self-management was conceptualized as actions involving preventive health, self-monitoring, self-diagnosing, and self-treatment. The results show that the websites recommend more self-management actions for preventive health and self-treatment than for self-monitoring and self-diagnosis. Frequent oral fluid intake, limitation of overactivity, eating a healthy diet, avoiding extreme temperatures, and infections were the commonest preventive health recommendations. Daily pain monitoring and general bodily inspections were the most frequent self-monitoring recommendations. Commonly cited self-diagnostic indicators were fever, persistent pain, enlarged spleen, and leg ulcers. The use of analgesics and non-pharmacological measures were regularly cited for self-treatment. Most recommendations were assessed as clinically safe as they align with standards for sickle cell management. Nurses and other professionals should teach patients how to assess the credibility of websites. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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