- Patients' perspectives on hospitalisation: Experiences from a cancer ward in Kenya
- Anthropology & Medicine
- Volume | Issue number
- 15 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This paper explores how adult cancer in-patients feel about and make sense of their condition and therapy. Data was collected through observation and informal conversations with patients and hospital staff, over a period of 12 months, on a cancer ward in a teaching hospital in Kenya. I held in-depth conversations on multiple occasions with 42 patients. Most of them expected to recover quite fully, despite having postponed seeking medical help, and delays in referral. Long periods of suffering, prolonged diagnosis and treatment, and socio-economic difficulties shape the patients' perspectives on hospitalisation. The low position of patients in the social and medical hierarchy, and inadequate hospital resources, hamper their capacity to negotiate their care. The needs of the cancer patients can better be met when their experiences during hospitalisation are understood. This can foster co-operation between patients and hospital staff to facilitate coping with chronic illness. The patients' views highlight both material and non-material needs in cancer management in a developing country.
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