Chronic rhinosinusitis: a qualitative study of patient views and experiences of current management in primary and secondary care

Jane Vennik, Caroline Eyles, Mike Thomas, Claire Hopkins, Paul Little, Helen Blackshaw, Anne Schilder, Imogen Savage, Carl M Philpott

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OBJECTIVES: To explore patient views and perspectives of current management of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) in primary and secondary care.

DESIGN: Semistructured qualitative telephone interviews as part of the MACRO programme (Defining best Management for Adults with Chronic RhinOsinusitis).

SETTING: Primary care and secondary care ear, nose and throat outpatient clinics in the UK.

PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-five patients consented to in-depth telephone interviews. Transcribed recordings were managed using NVivo software and analysed using inductive thematic analysis.

RESULTS: CRS has a significant impact on patients' quality of life, affecting their ability to work effectively, their social interactions and daily living. Patients seek help when symptoms become unmanageable, but can become frustrated with the primary care system with difficulties obtaining an appointment, and lack of continuity of care. Patients perceive that general practitioners can be dismissive of CRS symptoms, and patients often prioritise other concerns when they consult. Health system barriers and poor communication can result in delays in accessing appropriate treatment and referral. Adherence to intranasal steroids is a problem and patients are uncertain about correct technique. Nasal irrigation can be time-consuming and difficult for patients to use. Secondary care consultations can appear rushed, and patients would like specialists to take a more 'holistic' approach to their management. Surgery is often considered a temporary solution, appropriate when medical options have been explored.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients are frustrated with the management of their CRS, and poor communication can result in delays in receiving appropriate treatment and timely referral. Patients seek better understanding of their condition and guidance to support treatments decisions in light of uncertainties around the different medical and surgical options. Better coordinated care between general practice and specialist settings and consistency of advice has the potential to increase patient satisfaction and improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere022644
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2019

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