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  • Publication : 08 10 2019
  • Catégorie :La recherche médicale et génétique

"Getting ready for the adult world": how adults with spinal muscular atrophy perceive and experience healthcare, transition and well-being.    

BACKGROUND: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has profound implications across a lifetime for people with the condition and their families. Those affected need long-term multidisciplinary medical and supportive care to maintain functional mobility, independence and quality of life. Little is known about how adults with SMA experience healthcare, or the components of care perceived as important in promoting well-being. The purpose of this study was to use qualitative research methodology to explore the lived experiences of healthcare and wellbeing of adults with SMA. Purposive sampling was used to recruit adolescents and adults with SMA, their parents and partners. Face-to-face or telephone-based semi-structured interviews were recorded and analysed using inductive thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Across a total of 25 interviews (19 people with SMA, 5 parents, 1 partner) many participants described disengagement from health services and major gaps in care throughout adulthood. Disengagement was attributed to the perceived low value of care, as well as pragmatic, financial and social barriers to navigating the complex healthcare system and accessing disability services. Adults with SMA valued healthcare services that set collaborative goals, and resources with a positive impact on their quality of life. Mental health care was highlighted as a major unmet need, particularly during times of fear and frustration in response to loss of function, social isolation, stigma, and questions of self-worth. Alongside this, participants reported resilience and pride in their coping approaches, particularly when supported by informal networks of family, friends and peers with SMA.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide insight into the lived experiences, values and perspectives of adults with SMA and their carers, revealing major, ongoing unmet healthcare needs, despite many realising meaningful and productive lives. Findings indicate the necessity of accessible, patient- and family-centered multidisciplinary care clinics that address currently unmet physical and mental health needs. Understanding the lived experiences of people with SMA, particularly during times of transition, is critical to advancing health policy, practice and research. Future studies are needed to quantify the prevalence, burden and impact of mental health needs whilst also exploring potential supportive and therapeutic strategies.

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