November 17, 2020
External Event

A Qualitative Analysis of r/ostomy: What Reddit Can Teach Us About Patients with Ostomies and their Eating Experience

Original Presentation: November 17, 2020

People who require an intestinal ostomy due to bowel disease experience changes to their physical abilities, lifestyle, and eating. Many ostomates participate in discussion related to their experience with ostomies on the r/ostomy subreddit, a public forum of Our objective was to identify common concerns of ostomates who participate in this forum and discuss nutrition and eating, to provide insight to primary care professionals. We collected data using RStudio and the R package ‘RedditExtractoR’ to retrieve posts with keywords related to eating such as ‘diet’. Next, we began a thematic analysis by independently coding responses and highlighting themes. We created a final coding template and used Nvivo software to group the data accordingly. On r/ostomy, people with ostomies commonly discussed concerns about restricting or avoiding foods due to their ostomy, controlling output volume and consistency using diet, and nutrient absorption and hydration. In addition, ostomates often identified the burden of being a patient, the value of talking to others with lived experience of having an ostomy, and reasons why they were able or unable to accept and adapt to their new lifestyle. The utilization of Reddit data in primary health care research can provide a candid view of people’s health and health care experiences. These findings can inform health care providers how to better address the concerns and needs of people with ostomies to promote their health and improve quality of life.

Lisa Blundell, Doctoral Candidate, Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, MUN

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