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Management of uncertainty in the diagnosis communication of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures in a South African context.

08:00 EDT 9th July 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Management of uncertainty in the diagnosis communication of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures in a South African context."

The process of communicating a diagnosis of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) is an integral part of the treatment process. Many international studies have therefore focused on the PNES diagnosis communication process, but to date, none with a specific focus on the South African context. This current study considered the factors that influence the patient's experience of uncertainty and the strategies employed to manage that uncertainty within the provider-patient communication. This was considered from the healthcare provider's point of view, within the specific context of diagnosis communication. We conducted 13 semi-structured interviews with providers, eliciting their perceptions related to the communication of a PNES diagnosis to patients. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis, and themes were grouped according to the main tenets of the interpersonal health communication theory of uncertainty management, which included, the experience, appraisal, and management of uncertainty. The results revealed medical, personal, and social forms of uncertainty. The social sources of uncertainty, which include challenges related to the South African healthcare system, cultural, and language variability within the South African context, as well as possible stigmatization, seemed to have the biggest influence not only on the other areas of uncertainty, but was also indicated as a barrier to effective uncertainty management by providers. Providers in this study identified the importance of building the provider-patient relationship and ensuring patient understanding, as the main strategies used to reduce uncertainty. There was some evidence to suggest varied emotional appraisals of uncertainty by patients, but because of the subjective nature of this information, further research would be needed to confirm these findings. These findings suggest that as providers, one cannot apply a one-size-fits-all approach when aiding in uncertainty management. Furthermore, it is pertinent to remain cognizant of the social realities of the South African context and its impact on the patient's uncertainty experience. More research is needed to understand patients' perceptions of uncertainty management within the context of PNES diagnosis communication, and how they align with the perceptions of the providers provided here.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Epilepsy & behavior : E&B
ISSN: 1525-5069
Pages: 45-52

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