'Surviving COVID-19': Illness Narratives of Patients and Family Members in Pakistan
Keywords:COVID-19, Illness Narratives, Stigma
AbstractObjective: To explore the emic perspective of survivors and their family members with regards to their lived experience with COVID-19 Study Design: Cross sectional qualitative research using phenomenological approach with a constructivist paradigm. Telephonic interviews of patients from Punjab and KP for 2 weeks during May 2020, as approved by the ethical review committee of Fauji Foundation Hospital, Rawalpindi Methods: Non-probability maximum variation purposive sampling technique was employed to conduct semi structured interviews with 22 individuals; including those who had tested positive for COVID-19 on PCR test and recovered after minimum 2 weeks of isolation, along with their family members. Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis was done concurrently with data collection and management. Results: 5 data-driven themes with 21 subthemes were; “Perceived Susceptibility”: symptoms, risk factors, causes/origin, modes of transmission, “Knowledge and Experience with Precautionary Behaviors”: use of masks, hygiene practices, social distancing, religiosity, “Treatment seeking behavior: Perceived costs and benefits”: experience with test, complementary home remedies, medical treatment, mistrust for quarantine facilities, interaction with health care practitioners, less priority to other diseases, “Psycho-social dimensions of COVID-19”: guilt and fear, caregiver burden, family quarantined, renewed spiritual connections, “Barriers to Care”: health care workers: dichotomy of praise and stigma, media: dramatic and traumatic, stigma-behavior of others. Conclusion: This study revealed the lived experiences of COVID-19 survivors and their family members, detailing their conceptualization with regards to disease vulnerability and associated precautionary behaviors. It mainly showed how survivors and family members navigate through biomedical systems, complementary healing practices, resilience and stigma.
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