The well-being of patients' next of kin can be an important factor with regard to the care and rehabilitation of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the presence and meaning of chronic sorrow in a group of next of kin of patients with MS. Using a semistructured interview guide as a basis, 44 next of kin were interviewed. The results showed that 35 (80%) of the participants were considered to have chronic sorrow based on predetermined criteria. Three main themes characterized the meaning of chronic sorrow: loss of security, loss of sense of community in family life, and loss of joy and recreation. This study indicates that nurses need to devote greater attention to the well-being of next of kin, offering support programs to help them cope with chronic sorrow.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Elisabeth Liedström, MSc RNT, firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a lecturer at the School of Health and Medical Sciences at Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
Ann-Kristin Isaksson, PhD RNT, is a senior lecturer at the School of Health and Medical Sciences at Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
Gerd Ahlström, PhD RNT, is a professor and dean at the School of Health Sciences at Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden.