Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Sweetland, J., Riazi, A., Cano, S.J.,& Playford, E.D. (2007). Vocational rehabilitation services for people with multiple sclerosis: What patients want from clinicians and employers. Multiple Sclerosis, 13 1183 - 1189.
Title:  Vocational rehabilitation services for people with multiple sclerosis: What patients want from clinicians and employers
Authors:  Sweetland, J., Riazi, A., Cano, S.J.,& Playford, E.D.
Year:  2007
Journal/Publication:  Multiple Sclerosis
Publisher:  Sage Publications
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Qualitative research

Structured abstract:

Background:  When diagnosed most people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are either in school or employed. As MS progresses many become unemployed. Previous research has looked at barriers to work but did not investigate possible solutions. At the time of this study, there was an increased interest in ways to improve vocational rehabilitation services in the United Kingdom.
Purpose:  The purpose of the study was to explore what individuals with MS needed from vocational rehabilitation service in order to remain employed.
Setting:  The study involved multiple focus groups. The focus groups were held in meeting rooms in a hospital.
Study sample:  Twenty four people with multiple sclerosis participated in the focus groups. The majority (71%) were ambulatory and had relapsing remitting multiple scelerosis (79%). Most were female (71%). The mean time since the onset of the condition for all was 10 years.
Intervention:  There was no intervention.
Control or comparison condition:  There were no control or comparison conditions.
Data collection and analysis:  Four focus groups were held. First, vocational rehabilitation was defined. Then, the focus groups responses were recorded. Afterwards, the researchers independently coded the transcripts using a constant comparison method. Data comparison led to the identification of emerging categories and themes. Additional discussions led to consensus. The data was managed with a qualitative data analysis software.
Findings:  Managing performance and expectations surfaced as the top two things people with MS want from VR services. Related to managing performance three concepts emerged. These included: improving performance, compensating for performance and modifying performance. Related to the second need, managing expectations, two themes surfaced. Support with disclosure and discrimination. Issues pertaining to service delivery were also identified. These included: support early on, individualized services, and an open and easy to access,responsive VR service system. The groups also weighed in on ways to inform individuals with MS about VR services. These included: brochures, the internet and posters.
Conclusions:  Individuals with MS want early, easy to access, individualized VR services. They also want support with disclosure and discrimination issues. More research is needed.

Disabilities served:  Multiple sclerosis
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male