Publication date: Sep 04, 2019
Relationships between multiple sclerosis patients and their intimate partners were enhanced when the couple worked together to make lifestyle changes, and to develop skills to improve communication, a study shows. The study, -On the path together: Experiences of partners of people with multiple sclerosis of the impact of lifestyle modification on their relationship,” was published in the journal Health and Social Care. Studies have shown that MS patients who attended intensive workshops teaching evidence-based lifestyle interventions had improved HRQOL, reduced relapse rates, and stabilized disability as determined by the Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale Physical Component (MSIS-20). However, the impact of such lifestyle interventions on the partners of MS patients, and their relationship, has not been evaluated. This prompted researchers to interview partners of a group of MS patients who attended intensive lifestyle modification workshops. Researchers interviewed 21 partners of MS patients who had attended lifestyle workshops between 2002 and 2016. Results identified three main themes regarding the partners’ perspectives on the impact that MS and lifestyle modification had on their relationship as a couple: providing support, remaining connected, and togetherness. The teamwork between partners and MS patients was found to be key when undergoing major lifestyle changes. Overall, the team concluded that -for people with MS who undertake lifestyle modification, benefits may be experienced by the partner and the couple.