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Understanding hope in patients with Multiple Sclerosis



To understand how patients with Multiple Sclerosis experience and express hope within a rehabilitation setting and use this information to help therapists in a clinical setting.


One guided interview was undertaken.


Two locations were used for interviews: (1) a rehabilitation centre in Oxfordshire. (2) A meeting location for the MS society in London.


Eleven patients with Multiple Sclerosis were selected (54.5±8.8 years). Six patients were classified as being in the secondary progressive stage and 5 were classified as relapsing remitting phase.


The patients selected were part of a 12-week Multiple Sclerosis rehabilitation program. One interview took place mid way through the rehabilitation program and immediately following the end of the rehabilitation program. The semi-structured interview comprised of 5 sub-sections. Categorical content analysis was used to analyse the results.


Three main themes were identified that related to the paradox of chronic illness: (1) defiance and the patient (2) accepting the diagnosis and prognosis and (3) accepting deterioration. These themes provide a basis for the different types of hopes expressed by patients.


It is vital to understand the paradox of chronic illness as an expression common among patients with Multiple Sclerosis. This research illustrates the importance of listening to a patient's narrative during rehabilitation.

Cite this article

Understanding hope in patients with Multiple Sclerosis     Andy Soundy, James Benson, Helen Dawes, Brett Smith, Johnny Collett, Andy Meaney
Physiotherapy - December 2012 (Vol. 98, Issue 4, Pages 344-350, DOI: 10.1016/


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