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  • Publication : 29 08 2019
  • Catégorie :La recherche médicale et génétique

User perspectives on a psychosocial blended support program for partners of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and progressive muscular atrophy: a qualitative study.    

BACKGROUND: Partners are often the main caregivers in the care for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and progressive muscular atrophy (PMA). Providing care during the progressive and fatal disease course of these patients is challenging and many caregivers experience feelings of distress. A blended psychosocial support program based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy was developed to support partners of patients with ALS and PMA. The aim of this qualitative study is to gather insight into experiences with different components of the support program (program evaluation) and to discover what caregivers gained from following the program (mechanisms of impact).
METHODS: Individual in-depth interviews, about caregivers' experiences with the support program were conducted with 23 caregivers of ALS/PMA patients enrolled in a randomized controlled trial designed to measure the effectiveness of the blended psychosocial support program. The program, performed under the guidance of a psychologist, consists of psychoeducation, psychological and mindfulness exercises, practical tips and information, and options for peer contact. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically.
RESULTS: The program evaluation showed that caregivers perceived each component of the program as beneficial but ambivalent reactions were expressed about the mindfulness exercises and peer contact functions. Caregivers expressed the need for a more personalized program with respect to the order and timing of the modules and wanted to continue the support program for a longer time. The main mechanism of impact of the program that caregivers reported was that they became more aware of their own situation. They further indicated that the program helped them to perceive control over the caregiving situation, to accept negative emotions and thoughts, to be there for their partner and feel acknowledged.
CONCLUSIONS: The blended psychosocial support program for caregivers of patients with ALS/PMA is valued by caregivers for enhancing self-reflection on their challenging situation which stimulated them to make choices in line with their own needs and increased their feeling of control over caregiving. The different components of the program were overall appreciated by caregivers, but the mindfulness and peer support components should be further adapted to the needs of the caregivers.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Dutch Trialregister NTR5734 , registered 28 March 2016.

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