Date of Conferral





Public Health


Harold R. Witt


Background: Continuity of care is a crucial characteristic of high quality multiple sclerosis (MS) care. Nevertheless, experiences of MS patients with continuing care are currently understudied, particularly through in-depth methods, such as qualitative approaches. This is despite the significance of continuity of care in improving patient satisfaction and the quality of life of patients with chronic diseases.

Aim: To examine the experiences and perceptions of MS patients with continuity of care through a critical exploration of their lives following hospitalization for an exacerbation.

Design of the study: Qualitative using phenomenological approach.

Participants: Eight participants living with MS. All participants were from New York.

Method: Individual face to face semi-structured interviews.

Results: Participants had experiences with the three types of continuity of care (relational, informational, and managerial). The findings of this research indicated that trusted relationships with a small number of healthcare providers are preferred for tailored and easy access to care. Relational continuity was valued although was in most cases deficient. Information continuity was essential, although also deficient as health care providers failed to provide the participants with adequate information regarding their condition. Regarding managerial continuity, the participants felt that care delivered to them was not well connected, and they had to assume the responsibility of coordinating their own care.

Conclusion: Participants had both positive and negative experiences with the various elements of continuity of care. The implication is that the experiences of MS patients with continuity of care following hospitalization can be used to enhance the quality of care and patient satisfaction.

Abstract 4-23-20