Kate Heward: the occupational impact of multiple sclerosis: a qualitative study of partners and a family.
Article Type: Abstract
Subject: Multiple sclerosis (Development and progression)
Multiple sclerosis (Care and treatment)
Multiple sclerosis (Patient outcomes)
Occupational therapists (Practice)
Pub Date: 06/01/2010
Publication: Name: British Journal of Occupational Therapy Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. ISSN: 0308-0226
Issue: Date: June, 2010 Source Volume: 73 Source Issue: 6
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United Kingdom Geographic Code: 4EUUK United Kingdom
Accession Number: 229717776
Full Text: Kate Heward

The occupational impact of multiple sclerosis: a qualitative study of partners and a family

Leeds Metropolitan University, 2008. PhD.

Introduction: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic progressive condition, which affects the central nervous system. Statistics show that it is the most common condition affecting young adults in the United Kingdom (UK). The condition is not life threatening, but there is no known cure. MS not only affects the person diagnosed, but can also have a significant impact on other family members. This thesis aimed to explore the impact that MS can have, from an occupational perspective, on other family members. There were three phases in the research project: the first two phases explored the impact on and experiences of partners of people with MS, and the third phase explored a family perspective. Each of the phases is linked to form one research study.

Methodology: This thesis reports on a qualitative research project, where in-depth interviews were carried out and thematic analysis, drawing on principles of constructivist grounded theory, was used.

Results: Phase one explored the perspectives of the partner in the areas of self-care, productivity and leisure. The analysis found that there were both opportunities and adjustments for partners, as well as struggles to maintain their identity or to establish new identities in ever-changing situations. Phase two was developed from phase one. The analysis identified that partners were able to recreate themselves in the face of MS, or were facing lives where their occupations were eroded. In this phase, a preliminary theory was constructed. Phase three evolved from the first two phases and explored the experience of one family. This phase aimed to provide a more comprehensive analysis, further developing the themes and preliminary theory from the first two phases. This phase suggested that family identities were constantly shifting, but that the family were developing occupationally together.

The key themes spanning across the thesis are occupational adjustments, opportunities and recreation in the face of MS. The implications for occupational therapy practice, research and education are then discussed and conclusions from the study as a whole are drawn.

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