Nutr Clin Pract. 2023 Dec 8. doi: 10.1002/ncp.11097. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Consumers of parenteral nutrition (PN) and their caregivers use social media to seek advice and support from their peers and to share experiences. We aimed to leverage posts from a social media patient community to identify common lived experiences of consumers of PN to prioritize opportunities for support through advocacy, education, and research.

METHODS: Anonymous posts with high engagement were collected over 4 months from a PN-focused social media support group platform. No personal information was collected or analyzed. Post content was reviewed for demographic characteristics. Thematic analysis involved inductive coding to identify content-based keywords. Keywords were then used to form major themes and subthemes that were then quantified by post counts.

RESULTS: A total of 306 social media posts were analyzed. Most were from adult PN consumers (80.4%) and pertained to home-based PN (82%). Equivalent number of posts (5%) were from new consumers and those who had not yet started or restarting PN. The analysis revealed 12 major themes with 2-11 subthemes each, spanning medical, nutrition, emotional, and social aspects. The most prevalent theme was “Best practices, care, and safety of PN use” (36.9%), covering posts seeking guidance on line care, personal hygiene, equipment use, and vascular access devices. Others included “Symptoms” (23.9%) and “Patient safety concerns of PN handling by healthcare providers” (16.0%).

CONCLUSIONS: The identified themes provide a broader understanding of contemporary shared lived experiences and concerns relevant to PN consumers and their caregivers. Given the evolving nature of daily stressors, periodic reanalysis may be necessary.

PMID:38063263 | DOI:10.1002/ncp.11097