Objectives/Aims Previous research into Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) has shown that there are significant barriers in providing multidisciplinary, patient-centred care for these patients, including stigmatising attitudes, poor knowledge about FND, and a lack of structured care pathways. However, there has been no specific research into patient experiences of care for FND within NHS services to date, and whether these experiences meet the standards of care expected for long-term neurological conditions (LTNCs). The current study thus aimed to investigate the types of problems experienced by FND patients, and whether they differed in frequency and type to patients with another LTNC, multiple sclerosis (MS).
Methods Both FND (n = 40) and MS patients (n = 37) were recruited from tertiary neurology clinics at an NHS hospital and completed two questionnaires on their experiences of health and social care services and on their level of disability.
Results The results indicated significant differences in experiences of care between the two patient groups, with FND patients reporting significantly more problems (p< 0.001)overall. These problems were reported in relation to their diagnosis and treatment, relationships with healthcare professionals, and difficulties in accessing services. This was despite FND patients reporting significantly higher levels of disability (p= 0.001), highlighting the burden of care experienced by FND patients as a result of these difficulties in accessing and receiving care. A small sample size, specificity to a single neurology centre, and a cross-sectional design are acknowledged as limitations.
Conclusions Together, these results suggest that current care for FND patients is not meeting the standards expected for LTNCs, and highlight the need for further research and the development of structured, multidisciplinary pathways with a patient-centred approach.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.