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The Hepatitis C treatment experience: Patients’ perceptions of the facilitators of and barriers to uptake, adherence and completion

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Objective: This study explores the perceptions of patients receiving treatment for Hepatitis C to determine what factors influence their decision to commence treatment, ability to maintain adherence and complete their treatment program.

Design: Semi-structured interview techniques were used in a qualitative study of 20 patients undergoing treatment for Chronic Hepatitis C (CHC).

Main outcome measures: To explore patients’ perceived barriers and facilitators of Hepatitis C treatment adherence and completion.

Results: Analysis of patient interviews identified four key themes: (1) motivations for commencing CHC treatment – fear of death and ridding themselves of stigma and shame; (2) the influential role of provider communication – patients reported that information and feedback that was personalised to their needs and lifestyles was the most effective for improving adherence to treatment; (3) facilitators of treatment adherence and completion – social, emotional and practical support improved adherence and completion, as did temporarily ceasing employment; (4) barriers to treatment adherence and completion – these included side effects, stigma, a complicated dosing schedule and limitations of the public healthcare system.

Conclusion: To increase treatment adherence and completion rates, a patient-centred approach is required that addresses patients’ social, practical, and emotional support needs and adaptive coping strategies.
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Keywords: Hepatitis C treatment; Hepatitis C virus; coping strategies; qualitative research; treatment adherence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia 2: Psychosocial Research Group, Prince of Wales Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Lowy Cancer Research Centre, Randwick, Australia 3: Storr Liver Centre, Westmead Millennium Institute, University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital, Westmead, Australia 4: School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Publication date: August 3, 2015

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