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P140 Every picture tells a story – a pilot study of producing comics on the patient experience severe asthma and its treatment
  1. RCM Jones,
  2. J Kilburn,
  3. D Aoki,
  4. A Inman,
  5. I Keen,
  6. D Tipping,
  7. D Glover,
  8. A Lichtensztejn,
  9. J Lanario
  1. University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK


Background The patient‘s narrative of the impact of disease and its treatment are an underused resource for sharing the benefits of novel treatments with health professionals and patients.

Methods Six patients with severe asthma who had a good response to biologic treatment were invited to tell their story to an oral history and an illustration student. Within the framework of experiences of their asthma before and after treatment, semi-structured oral history interviews explored individual memory. There was an emphasis on how change over time might be narrated in various registers: verbal recollection intersecting with visual imagination; articulation of emotions and especially key moments of crisis, overcoming adversity, and aspiration; impact on interpersonal relationships; personal sense of self-worth and value; and the identification of core narrative themes and images. The patients then collaborated with the students to produce visual and written stories as comics.

Results Two patients returned an informed consent form before the deadline. A range of impacts including emotional, social, financial, psychological were discussed (figure 1). Patient’s also described life-changing benefits of the treatment:

‘I didn’t need to take inhalers and I wasn’t putting drugs in my body every day.’[ppt. 1]

‘I remember it well, erm, they introduced me to an injection. By the August (6 months later) I hadn’t had an attack.’[ppt. 2]

The students interpreted the stories in differing illustration styles in three illustrated stories.

Conclusions The pilot comics demonstrate how patients’ personal stories may be sparked, captured, and given greater context through our collaborative and unique oral history-visualisation approach. With emphasis on change over life courses, our patients’ stories – verbally remembered and visually rendered – powerfully communicate the emotional impacts of severe asthma and the profound improvements after biologics. The comics will be assessed as tools to educate clinicians and patients and their families.

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