Living With Multiple Sclerosis: Effects on Activities of Daily Living
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and incurable autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It is one of the leading causes of neurodegenerative disability in persons 20 to 40 years of age. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the difficulties that an individual living with Multiple Sclerosis experiences in his or her everyday life and to give nurses and other healthcare workers a better understanding of how debilitating this disease can be. Phenomenology was the research method selected for this thesis in an effort to understand the meaning of the lived experience of Multiple Sclerosis and its effects on individuals’ activities of daily living. Participants for this study included two women who have been diagnosed with MS, one having been diagnosed in her twenties and the other in her fifties. The lived experience of MS was described with the following themes: (a) living with a diagnosis of MS, (b) accessing treatment, (c) coping with the diagnosis and its effects in the family, (d) having supportive relationships, (e) living with a positive attitude. The results of this study concluded that even though MS can affect everyone differently, there are many common themes between the effects that this disease has on the activities of daily living.