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Barriers and facilitators associated with colonoscopy completion in individuals with multiple chronic conditions: a qualitative study

Authors Sultan S, Partin MR, Shah P, LeLaurin J, Freytes IM, Nightingale CL, Fesperman SF, Curbow BA, Beyth RJ

Received 16 November 2016

Accepted for publication 18 March 2017

Published 24 May 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 985—994


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Shahnaz Sultan,1–4 Melissa R Partin,1,2 Phalgoon Shah,5 Jennifer LeLaurin,4 Ivette Magaly Freytes,4 Chandylen L Nightingale,6 Susan F Fesperman,4 Barbara A Curbow,7 Rebecca J Beyth3,4,8

1Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, 2Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 3Department of Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, 4Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Gainesville, FL, 5Department of Medicine, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI, 6Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem NC, 7Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 8Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Gainesville, FL, USA

Background: A recommendation to undergo a colonoscopy, an invasive procedure that requires commitment and motivation, planning (scheduling and finding a driver) and preparation (diet restriction and laxative consumption), may be uniquely challenging for individuals with multiple chronic conditions (MCCs). This qualitative study aimed to describe the barriers and facilitators to colonoscopy experienced by such patients.
Materials and methods: Semistructured focus groups were conducted with male Veterans who were scheduled for outpatient colonoscopy and either failed to complete the procedure or completed the examination. Focus group recordings were transcribed and analyzed by an inductive grounded approach using constant comparative analysis.
Results: Forty-four individuals aged 51–83 years participated in this study (23 adherent and 21 nonadherent). Participants had an average of 7.4 chronic conditions (range 2–14). The five most common chronic conditions were hypertension (75%), hyperlipidemia (75%), osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease (59%), atherosclerotic heart disease (48%), and diabetes mellitus (36%). We identified four unique themes that influenced motivation to undergo a colonoscopy: competing medical priorities, low perceived benefit, a prior negative colonoscopy experience, and pre-existing medical conditions. Additionally, we identified four themes that influenced individuals’ ability to complete the examination: difficulty with bowel cleansing, difficulty with travel, worry about exacerbation of pre-existing conditions, and heightened concerns about potential complications.
Conclusion: MCCs are common in individuals referred for colonoscopy and generate unique barriers to colonoscopy completion related to medication, dietary changes, transportation, preparation processes, symptoms exacerbation, and complication concerns. Future research should examine whether tailored interventions that include education and support in addressing the unique barriers can enhance colonoscopy completion.

Keywords: adherence, colonoscopy barriers, multiple chronic conditions, Veterans

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