The Cultural Adaptation of Patient with Epilepsy in Taiwan

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Yueh-Hsuan Tien, MSN
School of Nursing, Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology, Tainan, Taiwan
Min-Tao Hsu, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the illness narrative and adaptation process of patients with Epilepsy in the specific culture of Taiwan.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand how culture and chronic illness are interwoven with each other.


 The purpose of this syudy is to understand the experience of illness and cultural adaptation of patients who live with Epilepsy.


 Based on McKevitt, illness narrative provides an opportunity to understand the suffering and to describe personal experiences in a social moral setting. Illness narrative of ten participants whose ages ranged from 25 to 41 years old from a medical center at southern Taiwan were obtained from in-depth interview and participant observation.   


 The resulting narrative analysis was the source of the analytical data of this article. When the epileptic patients deal with illness, the form an unique process of adjustment, that is, the circle from "seeing disease as destiny" to "co-exist with disease". Three stages of the adaptation were: The first stage start from the early stage of the outbreak of the illness, patients graduatelly draw from their interpretation and consequential effects of their "Cycle of Destiny" mentality. At the second stage, patients enter into a stage of various malfunction in their daily lives, experiencing incessant mental conflics between themselves and their illness.  As time goes by, they enter the third stage, they compromised to generate a co-existence situation with the disease. 


It is very important for clinical nurses to understand the illness narrative and cultural adaptation of patients who live with epilepsy in a culture that epilepsy has been attributed as madness.