Patients’ Experiences of Self-Administered Electrotherapy for Spasticity in Stroke and Cerebral Palsy: A Qualitative Study
Keywords:patients’ experiences, self-administered, electrotherapy, spasticity, Mollii Suit®, qualitative study
Objective: To explore patients’ experiences of a self-administered electrotherapy treatment for muscle spasticity in cerebral palsy and stroke; the Exopulse Mollii Suit®.
Design: Qualitative design with an inductive approach
Subjects: Fifteen patients with spasticity due to stroke or cerebral palsy, participating in a previous randomized controlled trial evaluating the treatment concept.
Methods: Information letters were sent to all potential participants (n = 27) in the previous study. Semi-structured interviews (21–57 min) were carried out with all subjects who volunteered (n = 15), administered by an experienced interviewer who was not involved in the previous study. Transcribed interviews were subject to content analysis.
Results: The 5 categories that emerged from the content analysis were “New method gives hope”, experiences related to “Using the assistive technology”, “Outcome from training with the assistive technology”, “The assistive technology” and “Taking part in the study”. Respondents felt hopeful when included in the previous study, motivated when experiencing a treatment effect, and disappointed when not.
Conclusion: The qualitative approach used in this study elicited complementary information that was not evident from the previous randomized controlled trial. This included statements regarding increased mobility, reduced spasticity, reduced use of medication, and problems related to using the treatment concept.
Fifteen patients who had tried the assistive technology Exopulse Mollii Suit®, an electrotherapy concept against muscle spasticity housed in a tight-fitting suit, were interviewed about their experiences. Increased mobility, reduced spasticity, and a reduction in the use of medication for spasticity-related symptoms were positive outcomes described by participants, although this was not experienced by everyone. Interest in continuing using the treatment for home-based training after the study was based on each individual’s experience of whether the treatment was effective, the (initial) motivation, and determination to try the new concept, the support from relatives or home service personnel to use the treatment and overcome difficulties that might appear, and the overall usability of the electrotherapy suit. The participants’ interest in using the training concept thus depended on the outcome from using the suit, motivation to use the suit, the usability of the suit, and available support when using the suit.
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