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Pilot Study of an Educational Programme for Caregivers of People Ageing with Multiple Sclerosis

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The purpose of this study was to examine the outcomes and participant-reported benefits of a multiple sclerosis (MS) caregiver education programme called 'Meeting the Challenges of MS'. Nineteen caregivers were recruited to this community-based pilot study; 12 completed all sessions. Occupational therapists facilitated five 2-hour weekly sessions, addressing strategies to problem solve the physical and emotional challenges of caregiving. Questionnaires were administered before and after the programme to determine if changes were achieved in caregivers' self-efficacy, abilities to prepare for and manage caregiving challenges, and abilities to monitor and implement personal health-promoting strategies. Focus groups obtained participants' feedback on the programme. All study procedures were approved by the university ethics committee.

The participants reported that they were more prepared for their caregiving role (p = 0.02), were able to reframe their experiences positively (p = 0.01) and sought more practical assistance (p = 0.02). Some tests performed poorly and need to be re-examined to determine their potential for use in future studies. Feedback from the participants emphasised the value of interacting with and learning from other caregivers to develop effective problem-solving strategies and obtain peer support.

The research team concluded that efforts are needed to address recruitment challenges and improve outcome measures to move this work forward. The participant feedback suggests that these efforts are worth pursuing.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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