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courts et al (2005) article summary

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McGill University
NUR1 221
Shari Gagne

Husbands and Wives Living with Multiple Sclerosis by Courts Overview  Becoming caregiver for a spouse is not something anyone expects to have to do  Focusing on developing career, providing for family & children  MS is unpredictable & symptoms vary – uncertainty regarding symptoms and prognosis are challenging to patients and family members, demanding flexibility  Caregiving partners often experience fear of an uncertain future, social disruption, financial difficulties & isolation  Spouses expected to provide support but they need support too – stressors can lead to ineffective self-care and cause enduring strain  Often loss of sense of control and feeling of powerlessness for both those suffering from MS and their spouses  Research investigated lived experience of spouses of people with MS, taking steps toward developing more effective interventions for them Method  Focus group interviews to obtain “authentic insight into the participant's experiences”  Collected by doctorally prepared nurse counsellors and senior nursing student research assistant  Snowballing technique to obtain participants – rewarded $20 for completing interview  Two groups of 8 men and 4 women  Four major themes identified: o Spouses' role as caregivers, with men as protectors and women as advocates  Gender differences  Believed caregiver role congruent for women and not for men  Men saw selves as protectors of wives' environment & activities, as well as sense of self-worth and excessive energy expenditure  Two mentioned their wives thought they might leave the marriage  Wives described roles as advocates, focusing on keeping husbands involved, functioning and independent, and advocates for health care  Both men & women acknowledged being overprotective at times o Need for resources, e.g. Information about MS and support services  Daily coping an issue  Need for friends and family to know more about MS, too  Also complementary or alternative treatment  Spouses often felt ignored, overwhelmed &
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