Cellulitis and treatment: a qualitative study of experiences

K. Carter, Sally Kilburn, P. Featherstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although cellulitis is usually a relatively mild condition, it is potentially life threatening, often necessitating emergency treatment in either the acute or community care settings. The treatment of cellulitis with antibiotics is well established, with effectiveness generally measured against purely biochemical and clinical outcomes (Cox, 2002). Although important, these outcomes are centred purely on the disease process from the medical perspective and little is known about patients' experiences of cellulitis. This qualitative study explores patients' view on the management of community-acquired cellulitis in the secondary healthcare setting. Data were collected through semi-structured groups and individual telephone interviews. Participants were selected through purposive sampling and the Framework Analysis Technique was used to analyse the data. Three superordinate themes emerged: initial presentation/motivation for seeking help; confidence and satisfaction; anxiety and dissatisfaction. Severe pain was almost universally a cause of distress and flu-like symptoms delayed recognition. Health information and communication was generally poor. Participants largely welcomed a move from inpatient to day-patient or outpatient care provided there was adequate information and support. To meet the diverse needs of cellulitis patients, services must be more flexible and tailored to the needs of the individual. Patients are often not told what they can do to prevent recurrence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S22-S28
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number6 Supp
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2007


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