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Therapy adherence among MS patients

The project Adherence as phenomenon: a systematic phenomenological study on how people feel about taking medication and following treatment regimen for MS is headed by Dr. Hanneke van der Meide and Dr. Merel Visse.  The researchers apply a care-ethical approach to gain a better understanding of the existential and relational aspects in the lives of people with the chronic disease MS, and how these aspects affect therapy adherence.

Description

Therapy adherence is important in order to prevent a relapse and to control the progression of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Care professionals seek ways to positively influence their patients’ therapy adherence, which is often found to be challenging. Therapy adherence pertains to the extent that a patient obeys the instructions of his/her doctor, for instance whether he/she takes medication as prescribed, and modifies his/her way of life. 


So far, research into therapy adherence has mainly focused on understanding the factors that affect the faithful ingestion or administration of medication, for instance through better information and patient education. Therapy adherence predictors vary, including biomedical, socio-demographical and psychological variables. As a result, there has been a lot less attention for the more existential and relational dimensions affecting patients living with a chronic disease or disability. 


The care-ethical approach applied by the researchers of the University of Humanistic Studies explicitly focuses on gaining a better understanding of precisely these existential and relational dimensions, using phenomenological research methods. For the company Genzyme, this phenomenological approach was the decisive reason to fund this research. Whereas therapy adherence has mainly been approached so far as a particular result influenced by certain variables, this study represents the first attempt to study therapy adherence phenomenologically.


Additionally, little to no research has been conducted so far on the significance of relational dimensions in adhering to treatment prescriptions among people with MS, while approximately 70 per cent of people with MS are assisted by another person for around 4 hours a day. There is no insight into how the care provided by these informal care givers and other forms of social support can affect therapy adherence. The current study also examines this dimension.

Researchers

(Co-)financing

The research is funded by Genzyme. Genzyme is a company that has been part of Sanofi since a number of years, which is an originally French pharmaceutical company that operates worldwide. 

Contact

Dr. Merel Visse, m.visse@uvh.nl.

The researchers apply a care-ethical approach to gain a better understanding of the existential and relational aspects in the lives of people with the chronic disease MS, and how these aspects affect therapy adherence.