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The aim of this study was to compare self-estimates of the physical, psychological, and general well-being of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and their next of kin with the assessment of the nurses and physician of these participants.
The well-being of 35 pairs of patients and their next of kin was rated by themselves, and by a physician and nurses. The well-being was examined over time, using a visual analogue scale (VAS). Patients' physical function was estimated at the same time with the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale-Revised and the Norris scale.
The correlations between the staff's estimates of the well-being of patients and next of kin were similar to their own estimates, even though staff to a higher degree estimated a decrease in well-being over time among the patients. The estimates by the nurses correlated better to that of the patients and next of kin in psychological and general well-being than the physicians' estimates did.
Significance of results:
Even though the staff's estimates of participants were roughly equivalent to their self-estimates, there were some differences. This result calls attention to the importance of working in teams in which different professional roles are combined and integrated, making it possible to form a holistic view of the situation of each family. A concern overlooked by one member of staff might be covered by another, and different focuses on the family may give a better composite picture of their life situation, which could lead to better support to the family.
The aim of this study was to examine health-related quality of life (HRQoL), individual QoL, anxiety and depression in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and their next of kin in relation to patients' physical function over time.
35 patients and their next of kin were studied using the Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36), Schedule for Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life-Direct Weighting (SEIQoL-DW), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and patients also by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale-Revised and the Norris scale every fourth to sixth month, one to four times.
Changes were found over time in both patients and their next of kin in the SF-36 but not in the SEIQoL-DW or HADS. Patients rated worse than their next of kin in the SF-36 physical subscales and next of kin rated worse than the patients in the global QoL score in SEIQoL-DW. Health, hobbies, and total relations were important areas in the SEIQoL-DW among all participants, but some important areas also differed between the patients and their next of kin. In most important areas among the pairs, the next of kin estimated their functioning/satisfaction worse than patients estimated their functioning/satisfaction.
Significance of results:
There were few changes over time in the QoL among the participants. Although most of the estimates in patients and their next of kin were equal, there were also some differences. These results emphasize the importance of support for both patients and their next of kin and that support ought to be given on both individual bases and together in pairs. The SEIQoL-DW might give signposts in the care through the course of the disease about what should be focused on to increase satisfaction of the important areas of life and might help the person to find coping strategies to handle his or her life situation.
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