Attitudes Regarding Aging Issues in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

TitleAttitudes Regarding Aging Issues in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsBowen JD, Gianas A, Gibbons LE, Kraft GH
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
*Spinal Cord Injuries, *Spinal Diseases, Congresses and Conferences, Paraplegia/og [Organizations], Yes

Purpose: To assess attitudes about aging issues in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: Two cross-sectional surveys of patients with MS. Results: Subjects (405/576)were asked to imagine a sever worsening of their MS. Most (67%) thought that it would be extremely likely or somewhat likely that they would be taken care of at home, vs 12% in a nursing home. Being taken care of at home was viewed as good (71%), wise (60%0, and beneficial (68%), whereas being taken care of in a nursing home was viewed as bad (80%), foolish (59%), and detrimental (78%). Feelings were intermediate for residential care homes and adult day care. Having nursing homes specializing in patients with MS was viewed as important (77%) and would likely be used by 40% sometime in the future. When asked o imagine a severe worsening of ther MS without expected recovery, 53% would want a medication to end their life, whereas 61% would consider physician-assisted suicide “under some circumstances.” Factors ated very important in forming these opinions included having control (64%), pain (63%), loss of purpose/enjoyment (58%), loss of cognition (56%), dependency (50%), religious beliefs (37%), timing (36%), financial (31%), what others would think (20%), having a long life (20%), and legality (19%). Those with greater education (p=0.003) and less disability (p= 0.018) were more likely to support assisted suicide. When asked about health care screening issues 708 of 1453 patients responded. Health care screening was higher than that for the general populations, with older patients having higher screening rates than younger patients. An annual physical examination had been performed in 63% of all patients with MS and 79% of those over 65. however, those with increasing disabilities had much lower rates of health care screening. Conclusion: Aging issues including nursing home placement, physician-assisted suicide, and health care screening are important to patients with MS.

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