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Health Narratives of Children with Cancer Using an mHealth App

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Hakop Kardzhyan

Introduction The Color Me Healthy mHealth app was designed to help children with cancer communicate their symptoms. The app supports children to express their individual experiences through checklists, brief free-text questions, diary entries, and drawing features. This secondary analysis presents the narratives of two children who used the Color Me Healthy app during its initial feasibility and acceptability evaluation. Methods The feasibility/acceptability study included 19 children 6-12 years of age (median 8 years) with cancer who were asked to use the app for at least 5 days between clinical visits. This secondary analysis used close reading techniques with attention to time, voice, setting, mood, perspective, and symbolism to gain a deeper understanding of each child's individual experiences and common themes across children's data. Results Patient 1 is a 6-year-old boy with osteosarcoma who used the app for 3 days and reported pain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and decreased appetite. He also related favorites, such as cheetahs, the color blue, and interacting with others whether playing board games or playing army. Patient 2 is a 7-year-old girl with leukemia who used the app for 9 days. Her symptoms included pain, fatigue, ""a lump in my throat,"" and ""a cold sore."" Social interactions including spending time with grandparents and going to school were important. She also related that fatigue restricted school attendance. Conclusion Through the Color Me Healthy app, children were given a means to relate their individual narratives, thoughts, and feelings. Although some similarities were present across children, we also saw individuality in their day-to-day experiences dealing with their illnesses. Applying this information about patients directly could help create a better patient-provider relationship and overall increase the quality of care that these children may receive throughout their treatment.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #A86
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Nursing
Faculty Mentor: Lauri Linder