The Adaptation of Patients with Epilepsy in Taiwan

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Yueh-Hsuan Tien, MSN
School of Nursing, Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology, Tainan, Taiwan
Min-Tao Hsu, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the illness narrative and adaptation process of patients with Epilepsy in the specific culture of Taiwan.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand how culture and chronic illness are interwoven with each other.

Background:In Taiwanese culture, many people have negative attitudes about epilepsy.

Purpose:The aim of this study is to understand the experience of illness and the adaptation process of people with epilepsy.

Methods: The researcher conducted illness narrative to generate data from interviews in the field of Taiwan. For more than two years fieldwork, researcher followed through 10 patients with epilepsy. Each participant received 3-6 times face to face long interviews combined with several phone calls to make sure saturation of data. Narrative analysis was used to analyze data.

Result:When epileptic patients deal with the illness, they form a unique process of adjustment, that is, the “Cycle of Destiny-Destined Co-Existence with the Illness” mentality. From the early stage of the outbreak of the illness, patients gradually draw from their interpretation and consequential effects of their “Cycle of Destiny” mentality. They then enter into a stage of various disorders in their daily lives, experiencing incessant mental conflicts between themselves and their illness. As time goes by, through self probing and readjustment of their mentality, the mentality of compromise subsequently emerges between the patients and the illness. Thus, a self-consoling idea of destined co-existence with the illness is generated to readjust the pace of life to live at peace with the illness.

Conclusion: It is very important for clinical practice to understand the experience of epileptic patients in co-existing with their illness and how they adjust, allowing clinical medical and nursing personnel to comprehend what patients need and to help them adapt to the changes after contracting the illness.