The Exploration of Living Impacts and Lived Experiences among Women with Fibromyalgia in Taiwan and the United States of AmericaName : Dr. Whei-Mei Jean Shih
Affliation : Associate Professor
University : Chang-Gung University of Science and Technology
Country : Taiwan
Objective: This research was to explore Taiwanese and American: (1) fibromyalgia women’s living impacts in three dimensions – functions, overall impact, and symptoms, (2) fibromyalgia women’s lived experiences.
Methods: The triangulation research methods with both qualitative and quantitative data collected were used. Participants were recruited from rheumatologist and psychiatrist referral and snowball method in the community. The FIQR questionnaire using descriptive data analysis for quantitative data and constant comparative analysis for qualitative data were used.
Results: Fifteen Taiwanese women and twenty five American women who met the inclusion criteria and participated in in-depth interviews were recruited in this study. The average age of the participants for Taiwanese was 48.2 years (range from 22 to 62 years) and 58.8 years for American women (range from 37 to 73 years). All questions in FIQR are graded on a 0-10 numeric rating scale. The first five rankings of the worst FIQR in Taiwanese FM women were: environmental sensitivity (7.8), anxiety level (7.4), sleep quality (7.0), depression level (6.9), and energy level (6.5). In American women, they were environmental sensitivity (7.6), clean floors (7.0), sleep quality (6.9), energy level (6.4), and stiffness level (6.0). The higher scores are indicative of greater dysfunction or symptom severity. In the qualitative approach there are four categories in Taiwanese FM women: Life Torture by Physical Suffering, Pain and torment in my mind, Treatment Seeking and Shopping, and Facing Incurable and Unknown Illness Lonely. There are eight categories in American women: Life Torture by Physical Suffering, Torment in My Mind, Treatment Seeking and Shopping, Seeking Resources or Information, Striving for Financial Support, Fibromyalgia Life Reborn, Going through FM Life Path, and My Voice to Health Care Providers. Each category is described in terms of its properties and sub-categories.
Conclusion: Pain is a subjective feeling and needs to pay attention to and be addressed to. It is recommended that fibromyalgia should be covered in Taiwan’s national health insurance coverage and health care professionals should be trained well in diagnosing fibromyalgia and providing proper care so as fibromyalgia women can achieve or maintain their integrity. It is beneficial for both health care professionals and patients.
Biography: Dr. Wei-Mei Jean Shih RN, PhD, received her PhD in nursing. Her research focus was on fibromyalgia, women health, and health promotion. She is currently working as an associate professor in graduate institute of health care, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. She is a member in Taiwan Fibromyalgia Advisory Committee, a research committee member in Taiwan Nursing Management Association, and Nursing Consultant in Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Lin Kou Campus.