Transforming Lives: Evaluation of Immediate and 6-month Outcomes from the CAN DOŽ PROGRAM , Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

Friday, May 29, 2015
Griffin Hall
Lauri O'Brien, BA , Programs, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, Avon, CO
Sara Anne Tompkins, Ph.D. , Programs, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, Avon, CO

Background: The CAN DO Program offers the most comprehensive view of MS, taking participants on a profound exploration of their unique condition and empowering them to live fully with MS. Objectives: Using an interdisciplinary team, this intensive four-day experience goes beyond traditional programs by providing comprehensive assessments and education about MS – its effects, treatment options and lifestyle adaptation strategies. The individualized course of MS calls for more empowering and person-specific interventions as optimism can impact MS by promoting physical adjustment, healthy coping strategies and predicts positive physical health outcomes (de Ridder, 2000; Rasmussen, 2009). The CAN DO Program’s health focused orientation is supported by research that exercise improves Quality of Life and certain MS symptoms (e.g., Motl & McAuley, 2009; Jensen et al., 2012). Methods: The current study evaluated combined data from pre, post and 6-month follow-ups (3 programs 2012–2014; PwMS & SP). Baseline sample contains 119 participants (51% PwMS), age (M=50.56 yrs.), length of diagnosis (M=10.84 yrs.); 104 at post; 88 at 6-months. Results: Paired sample t-tests found PwMS reported significant increase in MS Symptom Management Self-efficacy (MSSE t(38) = 6.27, p< .05 from pre (M=523.59; SD=132.62) to 6 months (M=664.87; SD=130.97); improved MS Specific Benefit Finding (BFiMSS) t(37) = 4.02, p< .05 from pre (M=90.59; SD=18.08) to 6 months (M=100; SD=15.78); increase in couple illness communication (CICS; p< .05). Additional outcomes include significant increase in MS Caregiver Benefit Finding (BFiMSCare; p< .05); achievement of short term goals; positive attitude and behavior changes at 6-months. Conclusions: The CAN DO Program is a personal and powerful MS program increasing confidence to transform challenges into possibilities. CAN DO produced outcomes of benefit finding, confidence in MS management and illness communication at 6 months. Improved benefit finding is related to meaning-based coping strategies with direct effects on life satisfaction (Pakenham, 2006) - thus demonstrating the mission of addressing multiple areas to help people live more fully with MS. Implications of increasing positive constructs include better medication adherence, less morbidity and increased longevity in healthy and chronically ill populations (e.g., Cuffee et al., 2012; Moskowitz et al., 2008). The CAN DO Program is an effective way to create empowerment and assist in multiple aspects of an individuals’ MS journey.