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The cooling-suit: case studies of its influence on fatigue among eight individuals with multiple sclerosis
Department of Nursing, University of Trollhättan/Uddevalla, Vänersborg, Sweden.
The National Board of Health and Welfare, Stockholm, Sweden.
2002 (English)In: Journal of Advanced Nursing, ISSN 0309-2402, E-ISSN 1365-2648, Vol. 37, no 6, 541-550 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim of the study. To study if the use of a cooling-suit by individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) influenced their experience of fatigue and consequent restrictions in daily life.

Background.  The majority of MS patients consider fatigue as one of their most disabling symptoms and as having a significant impact on their daily lives. Fatigue often increases in a warm environment. A cooling-suit has been reported as a practical method of cooling, but the effect on fatigue has not yet been studied.

Research methods.  Eight individuals used a cooling-suit in their own homes during a test-period. In a single case–control design, their experience of fatigue was studied before and after. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used: self-assessments using the Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS), open-ended interviews and semi-structured diaries.

Results.  All study participants reported a reduction in fatigue during the test period. On the FIS, they scored reductions in the physical, cognitive and psycho-social dimensions of daily life. They experienced fatigue less often and for shorter periods. In their diaries and interviews they described decreased muscular strain, less sense of fatigue in relation to intake of food and positive effects on cognitive, social or affective problems related to fatigue.

Discussion.  The cooling-suit is a practical method for cooling. It gives freedom and flexibility and can be used regardless of setting. Nurses who meet heat-sensitive individuals with MS have the opportunity to give information on cooling methods, including how to use a cooling-suit. In this pilot study we found that individuals with MS who suffered from fatigue reported a number of improvements in quality of daily life.

Conclusions.  The result indicates that use of a cooling-suit by individuals with MS may decrease their sense of fatigue. In this sample positive outcomes on daily life situations were reported. Further studies are needed to support these results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 37, no 6, 541-550 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-26887DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2002.02129.xLocal ID: 11511OAI: diva2:247437
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-09-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Fatigue in individuals with multiple sclerosis: lived experiences and perceived impact in daily life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fatigue in individuals with multiple sclerosis: lived experiences and perceived impact in daily life
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to gain knowledge about experiences of fatigue among individuals diagnosed with MS and to compare these experiences with those of individuals in the general population. Individuals' experiences of fatigue have been approached both inductively and deductively and qualitative and quantitative research methods have been combined. A total of 372 individuals participated in the studies: 178 individuals diagnosed with MS (I-IV), and 194 individuals randomly selected from the general population. These individuals functioned as reference group and were comparable with the MS sufferers as regards age and sex (III-IV).

Experiences of fatigue were investigated before-and-after an intervention with a cooling suit among eight individuals diagnosed with MS (I). Fatigue as lived through and its perceived meaning were addressed in a phenomenological interview study among nine individuals with MS (II). Reliability and validity of a tool to assess impact of fatigue in daily life, the Swedish version of the Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS), was investigated in a cross-sectional study among 161 individuals with MS in comparison with 194 individuals in the general population (III). Further, experiences of fatigue, in terms of its perceived impact in daily life in relation to perceived health was addressed in a study which comprised 155 individuals diagnosed with MS who were compared with 190 individuals from the general population (IV).

The collection of data included open interviews conducted before-and-after the intervention (I) and in the phenomenological study (II). A self-written semi-structured oneweek diary was completed during the test-period with the cooling suit (I). Perceived impact of fatigue in daily life was assessed in a self-assessment questionnaire, with the FIS (I, III, IV) and a symptom list (IV) included. The individuals' perceived health was addressed by means of a single rating-question (IV).

Living with fatigue means living with a time-consuming and an all-absorbing phenomenon, which is both non-constructively and constructively perceived and involves either the whole body or parts of it (II). Experiences of fatigue were reduced during the intervention period. Overall levels of fatigue, in terms of its duration and perceived severity, and also its perceived impact in daily life, were reported diminished and the participants reported a sense of well-being and contentment during the period (I). Among the individuals with MS, fatigue was regarded as one of, or as their worst symptom. The experience of fatigue was more than three times as frequent as among the individuals in the general population. In MS, the perceived impact of fatigue in daily life was not found to be related either to age or numbers of years of being diagnosed with MS, but it was with the indicated levels of perceived health (IV). Among individuals diagnosed with MS, the FIS was found to be a reliable and valid tool measuring impact of fatigue in daily life. Also in the reference group comprising individuals in the general population, the FIS captured and distinguished between different levels of the impact of fatigue (III).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping Universitet, 2005. 63 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 917
action-theory, cooling, daily life, fatigue, perceived health, phenomenology, scale testing
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-31911 (URN)17744 (Local ID)91-85299-31-6 (ISBN)17744 (Archive number)17744 (OAI)
Public defence
2005-11-18, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Linköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2012-09-27Bibliographically approved

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