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Open Access Research article

Perceived needs and satisfaction with care in people with multiple sclerosis: A two-year prospective study

Charlotte Ytterberg1*, Sverker Johansson1, Kristina Gottberg2, Lotta Widén Holmqvist1 and Lena von Koch1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Neuroscience, and Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

2 Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

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BMC Neurology 2008, 8:36  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-8-36

Published: 29 September 2008

Abstract

Background

Considering the costs of multiple sclerosis (MS), it is crucial that the health-related services supplied are in accordance with needs as they are perceived by people with MS (PwMS). Satisfaction with care is related to quality of care and can provide health care providers with the means for improvement. The aim was to explore the perceived needs and satisfaction with care amongst PwMS over a two-year period, also taking sex and disease severity into consideration.

Methods

The sample consisted of 219 outpatients at a MS specialist clinic. Data on perceived needs and satisfaction with care were collected every six months using a questionnaire which included various dimensions of care. The data was analysed for the whole sample and on an individual level, as well as in subgroups with regard to sex and disease severity.

Results

There were no statistically significant variations in the proportion of PwMS with perceived needs concerning different health-related services during the study period. However, individual variations were found with regard to both perceived needs and satisfaction with care. Few PwMS perceived a continuous need for a specific service. However, the majority perceived a need for rehabilitation, assistive devices, transportation service for the disabled, psychosocial support/counselling and information on social insurance/vocational rehabilitation at least sometimes. Severe MS was associated with a greater perceived need for almost all the services studied and women experienced a need for psychosocial support/counselling to a greater extent than men. In relation to the different categories of health care staff, PwMS were most satisfied with nurses with regard to all dimensions of care. They were least satisfied with the availability of psychosocial support/counselling; and information about social insurance/vocational rehabilitation.

Conclusion

Despite the large proportion of individuals with mild disease severity in our sample, a considerable number of needs were identified of which many, on an individual level, varied over time. Key services demanded by PwMS were identified. Also the level of satisfaction with care varied and areas with a potential for improvement were identified such as the availability of rehabilitation services including an increase in the supply of psychosocial support and counselling.