The Experience of Illness with Parkinson's Disease

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Ping-Ju Hsiao, MSN, RN
a doctoral student--National Taipei College of Nursing, and a lecturer--National Taipei College of Nursing, Chang Gung Institute of Technology, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan
Hung-Ru Lin, PhD, RN
Department of Nursing, National Taipei College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the lived experiences and feelings of patients with Parkinson's disease.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to a reference for nurses to provide appropriate nursing interventions.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Methods: A qualitative design and in-depth interview were used for data collection. One female and 4 males, aged 45-65, with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease were interviewed on neurological outpatient department at a medical center in northern Taiwan.

Results: Content analysis of the interviews revealed four themes: beyond the control of physical symptoms, seriously affected in operation of daily life, worried and feeling of helplessness, balanced life through self-adjustment. In this study, participants experienced many painful physical symptoms, especially for feeling beyond the control of the occurrence of symptoms and the unpredictability of switching time. They felt difficulty because of lacking ability in self-care, getting intermittent sleep, and having limitation in going out. They felt their working performance was affected due to the uncontrolled symptoms. Participants described that they cared about other people’s look on their appearance. They feared of becoming a burden to others, and feared the efficacy of medication disappeared when staying alone. In addition, they felt helpless of their lives. Fortunately, they learned to balance their lives through realizing the importance of taking medication regularly, readjusting the lifestyle with flexibility, and accepting themselves of having Parkinson's disease.

Conclusion: The results of this study in patients with Parkinson's disease can increase the nursing staff's understanding on patients’ lived experiences and feelings. In addition, it can be a reference for nurses to provide appropriate nursing interventions.