Main Problems Experienced by Children with Epidermolysis Bullosa: a Qualitative Study with Semi-structured Interviews
Corinne van Scheppingen, Ant T. Lettinga, José C. Duipmans, Carel G.B. Maathuis, Marcel F. Jonkman
The objective of this study was to identify and specify the problems of children with epidermolysis bullosa. The questions explored were: (i) What do children with epidermolysis bullosa experience as the most difficult problems; (ii) What is the impact of these problems on their daily life; and (iii) Do these experiences differ between mildly and severely affected children? Qualitative research methodology was used, comprising a series of semi-structured interviews with children with different (sub)types of epidermolysis bullosa. The interviews were analysed systematically with help of the qualitative software package Atlas-ti. Five main themes were found: (i) having an itchy skin, (ii) being in pain, (iii) having difficulties with participation, (iv) lack of understanding of others, and (v) the feeling of being different. Severely affected children suffered most from itch and treatment-related pain. Mildly affected children had more problems with activity-related pain. Mildly affected children also had more concerns about their appearance and the teasing and staring of others than did severely affected children. Both groups had difficulties with participation, the visibility of their disease and the feeling of being different.