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Living with motor neurone disease: Lives, experiences of services and suggestions for change

Lookup NU author(s): Kimberley Down


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Palliative care involves the complete, holistic care of people with progressive illness and their families. People living with motor neurone disease (MND) require a range of multidisciplinary palliative care services. However, there are significant gaps in our understanding of these people's lives, experiences of services and their suggestions for service change. The present study addressed the following questions: (1) What are the lived experiences of people living with MND? (2) What are people's experiences of services? and (3) Can improvements to care be identified? A qualitative research design was adopted using semi-structured interviews. The topic guide was developed from existing literature. The study was based in three boroughs in London, UK. People living with MND and professionals were drawn from a database at King's College Hospital, and additionally, through 'snowball' sampling. Nine people with MND, five carers/family members and 15 professionals took part in the interviews. These interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and checked for accuracy against the original recordings. Themes within the interviews were coded and grouped. The analysis was facilitated with the NVIVO computer software package. The findings are presented within three substantive groups: (1) the impact of MND on people's lives (the physical impacts of the illness, including increasing disability; social issues, including restrictions on social activities; and adjustments to people's lives, including methods of coping with the illness); (2) experiences of services (accessing service entitlements, information sources, professionals' attitudes and approaches, and professionals' knowledge and understanding of MND); and (3) suggestions for service change (better information and communication, including information on service entitlements; improved knowledge amongst professionals about MND; and some suggestions for service restructuring). This study brings a fresh approach to understanding the impacts of MND and the ways in which services can be improved to meet people's needs. The paper concludes with methodological considerations, the implications of the findings for practitioners and policy makers, and suggestions for further research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hughes RA, Sinha A, Higginson I, Down K, Leigh PN

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health and Social Care in the Community

Year: 2005

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

Pages: 64-74

ISSN (print): 0966-0410

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2524

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2005.00530.x

PubMed id: 15717908


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