Planning for an uncertain future in progressive neurological disease: a qualitative study of patient and family decision-making with a focus on eating and drinking
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Clarke, G., Fistein, E., Holland, A., Tobin, J., Barclay, S., & Barclay, S. (2018). Planning for an uncertain future in progressive neurological disease: a qualitative study of patient and family decision-making with a focus on eating and drinking. [Journal Article]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-018-1112-6
Abstract Background Dysphagia and other eating and drinking difficulties are common in progressive neurological diseases. Mealtimes can become a major source of difficulty and anxiety for patients and their families. Decisions about eating, drinking and care can become challenging as disease progresses, and the person in question loses the capacity to participate in decisions about their own care. We sought to investigate how patients and their family members make decisions about their future care as their condition deteriorates, with a particular focus on mealtimes, eating and drinking. Methods Longitudinal qualitative in-depth interviews were undertaken with patients and their family members (N = 29) across a range of disease groups, including: dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis. Patients had varying degrees of eating and drinking difficulties, and levels of decision-making capacity. Interviews were ‘participant led’ and undertaken in the patients’ own homes or a place of their choosing. Follow-up interviews were three months to one year later depending upon disease trajectory. Interviews were audio recorded and analysed in NVivo using a Thematic Analysis approach. Results Twenty-nine participants were interviewed between 2015 and 2017. Two key themes emerged from the analysis: 1) Health Literacy: the extent to which patients and relatives appeared to know about the condition and its treatment. Patients and their family members varied in their ability to speak and communicate about their condition and prognosis. 2) Planning style: the extent to which participants appeared to value involvement in advance care-planning. Patients and their family members varied in the way in which they made decisions: some preferred to ‘take each day as it comes’, while others wished to plan extensively for the future. Conclusions Issues with eating and drinking are often overlooked. Clinicians need to understand both the patient’s level of health literacy and their style of planning before communicating with patients and their families about these sensitive issues.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-018-1112-6
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.26297
Rights Holder: The Author(s).