Need/Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a progressive demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, affects over 2.5 million people worldwide. MS significantly impacts the general health status (GHS) and quality of life (QOL). An extensive literature review reveals a gap in the rehabilitation and MS literature in providing evidence of the effectiveness of wellness programs to improve the GHS and QOL for people living with MS.
Rationale: The changing health care system, rising health care costs, and the limited scope of solely biomedical interventions for MS necessitate examining alternative approaches to improve the QOL for people with MS. QOL has become a primary outcome in the provision of healthcare services, and is the predominant measure in clinical research. Occupational therapy (OT) intervention promotes QOL and well-being through maximizing clients' engagement in meaningful and purposeful activities.
Methodological design: This proposal randomized clinical trial uses a repeated measure design to examine the long term effects (three months after the termination of treatment) of an OT wellness approach, compared to a traditional OT rehab approach and a social activity program (control), on the outcome of QOL and GHS in people living with MS.
Data Analysis: The multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) will be used to explore the relationships among the dependent variables of the two treatment and the control groups.
Significance: In examining the effectiveness of the OT Wellness interventions on the GHS and QOL of people with MS, this proposal study will 1) contribute to much needed evidence-based practice for OT; 2) lay a foundation for wellness services for people with MS; 3) create opportunities for interdisciplinary (OT, Psychology, and Optometry) collaboration to strengthen treatment approaches for clients with MS; and 4) generate preliminary data to support further major federal grant applications.