The experience of acute leukaemia in adult patients: A qualitative thematic synthesis

Constantina Papadopoulou (Lead / Corresponding author), Bridget Johnston, Markus Themessl-Huber

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    19 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of this review was to systematically identify and synthesise all qualitative evidence on how adult patients diagnosed with acute leukaemia experience living with their illness.

    A systematic search strategy was developed comprising of two search strings: i) acute leukaemia and ii) qualitative methodology. The search strategy was run in seven electronic databases (Medline, CINAHL, PsychINFO, EMBASE, BNI & Archive, SSCI and ASSIA). Nine qualitative studies in adult patients with acute leukaemia, published in peer reviewed journals between 01/1990 and 01/2013 were included in the final sample.

    The qualitative thematic synthesis resulted in the development of a conceptual model describing a person's path to build a renewed self. Following the initial blow of diagnosis with the range of initial reactions, patients with acute leukaemia are living in a contracting world; they have to deal with the life in hospital, the several losses and the impact of their illness on their emotions and interpersonal relationships. Several factors take up a buffering role at that stage: coping, support, information and hope. Finally, patients accommodate acute leukaemia in their lives through re-evaluating personal values and assigning new meaning to their experience.

    Results from this thematic synthesis are indicative of the impact of acute leukaemia on patients' lives and the processes they use to make sense and accommodate the illness in their life. Increasing our understanding of these processes is warranted to improve patient care
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)640-648
    Number of pages9
    JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


    • Cancer
    • Oncology
    • acute leukemia
    • adults
    • thematic synthesis


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