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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2015, Article ID 351416, 8 pages
Research Article

The Lived Experience of Multiple Sclerosis Relapse: How Adults with Multiple Sclerosis Processed Their Relapse Experience and Evaluated Their Need for Postrelapse Care

1School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, 31 George Street, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6
2School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Received 11 March 2015; Accepted 23 April 2015

Academic Editor: Peter Arnett

Copyright © 2015 Miho Asano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses can take a toll on individuals’ health and quality of life. Given such consequences of relapses, postrelapse care beyond pharmacological approaches may play an important role in recovery. Nevertheless, how individuals with MS process their relapse experience and manage the consequences is still uncertain. Purpose. We conducted a qualitative study to understand relapse experiences and postrelapse care need from perspectives of adults with MS and identify relapse management patterns. Methods. We interviewed 17 adults with MS. Results. By examining combinations of three categories related to relapse experience, we identified four relapse management patterns: (i) Active Relapse Manager, (ii) Early-Stage Proactive Relapse Monitor, (iii) Adapted Passive Relapse Manager, and (iv) Passive Relapse Monitor. The relapse management patterns appear to associate strongly with the appraisal of the experience. Conclusions. The results of this study suggest the importance of understanding each patient beyond their functional limitations and the potential need for multidisciplinary postrelapse care which goes past restoring functional limitations at the acute phase. Future research to further understand the relapse management process at all stages of the healthcare continuum is a crucial step toward developing strategies to advance the current postrelapse care and to facilitate optimal recovery.