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The transition to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: an exploratory qualitative study of health professionals' experiences

Davies, Freya ORCID:, Wood, Fiona ORCID:, Brain, Katherine Emma ORCID:, Edwards, Michelle, Jones, Rhiannon, Wallbank, Rachel, Robertson, Neil ORCID: and Edwards, Adrian G. ORCID: 2016. The transition to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: an exploratory qualitative study of health professionals' experiences. International Journal of MS Care 18 (5) , pp. 257-264. 10.7224/1537-2073.2015-062

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Background: Identifying the transition from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) can be challenging for clinicians. Little previous research has explored how professionals experience working with patients during this specific stage of the disease. We explored the experiences of a group of multidisciplinary professionals who support patients in the transition to SPMS, to describe this stage from a professional perspective. Methods: Qualitative semistructured interview study with 11 professionals (medical, nursing, and allied professionals; both specialists and generalists) working with patients with MS in South Wales, United Kingdom. Thematic analysis of the interview data was performed. Results: Two overarching themes were identified: the transition and providing support. The theme “transition” comprised issues related to recognizing and communicating about SPMS. Uncertainty influenced both recognizing the transition and knowing how to discuss it with patients. “Providing support” included descriptions of challenging aspects of patient care, providing support for carers, utilizing the multidisciplinary team, and working within service constraints. Providing adequate psychological support and engaging patients with self-management approaches were seen as particularly challenging. Conclusions: Caring for patients in the transition to SPMS generates specific challenges for professionals. Further research on health-care interactions and patients'/professionals' experiences around the transition phase may help to identify strategies for professional development and learning, and how to optimize patient experience at this difficult stage of disease.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers
ISSN: 1537-2073
Date of Acceptance: 26 February 2016
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2023 00:13

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