Community Nursing

Community Nursing

Physical Effects of Caring for a Patient with Multiple Sclerosis

Caring for a relative with multiple sclerosis can significantly affect the physical well-being of those providing care (Ramagopalan & Sadovnick, 2011). In most cases, it is usually a collective responsibility of other family members who are expected to concentrate on the sick. Irrespective of needed support, taking care of a person with multiple sclerosis can be challenging and involves cleaning, moving them around and interruption of sleep. The paper evaluates the physical effects that Geoff is likely to present while caring for his wife that suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS) based on a presented case scenario.

Geoff’s Care Burden as a Primary Care

Evidence-based practices indicate that caregivers endure so much in their everyday endeavors as far as caring for the sick are concerned. Caring for a Multiple Sclerosis patient has not been an easy thing for Geoff who is certainly giving up largely because of the distress and hopelessness of Karen’s deteriorating condition.  In reality, the increased responsibility threatens to impair not just Geoff’s everyday schedule but piles the mental stress that may lead to other complications (Wood et al., 2012).

Increase Responsibility and Increase Work Hours to Meet the Financial Need for the Family

Geoff is under intense pressure to juggle the demands of work and home responsibilities. At home, for instance, Geoff has to cook for Karen and children and ensures that Karen takes a bath with his assistance. This is evident for instance when Geoff goes to work late in the morning and also comes home late after work, perhaps because he has to work overtime to meet family obligations. The suggestion that Geoff is increasingly helpless about Karen’s current condition and what the future holds for the family explains just how excruciating the experience presents.  The assertion that “I just don’t think I can do this anymore” demonstrates how depressed Geoff is and this trend is obviously leading to a change in physiological health habits (Hughes, Locock & Ziebland, 2013).

Health Related Issues with Geoff

The concentration of caregiving afforded by Geoff to Karen is highly likely to lead to other health related issues, whether quantified in terms of the amount of care provided (Simpson et al., 2011). Karen’s suffering has a bearing on Geoff’s wellbeing as well. What is more challenging is the fact that while Geoff is dedicated to providing the needed help to Karen, her condition seems to get even worse.  In reality, it becomes frustrating laboring to provide help that is unable to enhance the quality of care, an aspect that culminates into negative health effects (Palmer, 2011).

Other health issues associated with Geoff include Karen behavior, mental impairment, functional disability; constant supervision of Karen to control self-injuries. In addition, Geoff is not only depressed but also distressed, which may adversely affect his physical health. For instance, based on the case, Geoff feels that their lives are falling apart due to Karen’s deteriorating condition. According to Jones et al., (2012) caring for a patient with multiple sclerosis is extremely challenging because the patient requires close supervision and depressed due to the changing condition. Based on the case, Karen finds it harder to look after her family while remaining positive about her new condition. These aspects are connected to adverse career outcomes (Latimer-Cheung et al., 2013).

Family Disturbance and Unhappiness with Relationship and Sexual Issues

As a result of Karen’s condition is likely to affect their sex relationship, family disturbance, and unhappiness. In the recent past, studies have concentrated on caring for a spouse leading to distress and carer’s perception of the level of pain the patient is experiencing (Bowen, MacLehose & Beaumont, 2011). In this case, Karen’s suffering is depicted in different ways; evident physical signs like blurred vision, unable to hold her walking sticks, dragging her left foot and difficulty in holding heavy objects. Additionally, Karen’s voice is becoming weak, especially; when she talks she cannot be heard. Karen’s suffering can lead to Geoff’s depression. It is evident that due to increased burden of caring for Karen and other family responsibilities he is not only powerless but also worried about their future.

Geoff’s Care Burden as a Primary Care

The physical health of the primary carer is adversely affected due to Karen current condition. Increased stress levels, anxiety, and psychological health issues are common (Bozic et al., 2011). Much as Geoff has increased levels of depression, past studies demonstrate that he may present remarkable signs of depression (Sellner et al., 2011). In addition, depression and the burden of caring for Karen may reduce Geof’s functional condition. Therefore, significant levels of depression are common among people caring for patients with multiple sclerosis (Mansell, Beadle-Brown & Bigby, 2013). Furthermore, the majority of carer’s are depressed as well as psychological stress (Langdon, 2011). Anxiety and depression in primary carers can worsen, particularly if the patient is placed in a nursing home. The majority of primary carer’s that institutionalize a family member present high levels of depression similar to those when the patient was at home (Wingerchuk & Carter, 2014). A depressed career may have chronic disorders, dependence on drugs and anxiety disorder. On the other hand, depression is a primary condition related to suicidal thoughts (Benedict & Zivadinov, 2011).

Risk of Injury

As a family caregiver, Geoff is faced with the risks of medical depression because of caring for Karen who requires physical needs. As such, Geoff is highly likely to engage in detrimental behavior toward their loved one.  Moreover, Geoff is also at an increased risk for poor physical health outcomes owing to depressive symptoms and mental health issues among caregivers, coupled with the physical pressure of caring for Karen who can hardly undertake on everyday activities like taking a shower, cooking, and other individualized activities. The beehive of activities that have a toll order on Geoff’s physical wellbeing in terms of increased rates of physical ailments such as; acid reflux, headaches and other discomforts. Moreover, these ailments can result from Geoff’s depleted immune response that leads to recurrent infections (Munger & Ascherio, 2011).


Benedict, R. H., & Zivadinov, R. (2011). Risk factors for and management of cognitive    dysfunction in multiple sclerosis. Nature Reviews Neurology, 7(6), 332-342.

Bowen, C., MacLehose, A., & Beaumont, J. G. (2011). Advanced multiple sclerosis and the         psychosocial impact on families. Psychology and Health, 26(1), 113-127.

Bozic, C., Richman, S., Plavina, T., Natarajan, A., Scanlon, J. V., Subramanyam, M. … &            Bloomgren, G. (2011). Anti‐John Cunnigham virus antibody prevalence in multiple sclerosis patients: Baseline results of STRATIFY‐1. Annals of neurology, 70(5), 742-750.

Hughes, N., Locock, L., & Ziebland, S. (2013). Personal identity and the role of ‘carer’among                  relatives and friends of people with multiple sclerosis. Social science & medicine, 96, 78-85.

Jones, R., Mackenzie, A., Greenwood, N., Atkins, C., & Habibi, R. (2012). General practitioners,             primary care, and support for carers in England: can training make a difference. Health     & social care in the community, 20(2), 128-136.

Langdon, D. W. (2011). Cognition in multiple sclerosis. Current opinion in neurology, 24(3),      244-249.

Latimer-Cheung, A. E., Pilutti, L. A., Hicks, A. L., Ginis, K. A. M., Fenuta, A. M., MacKibbon, K. A., & Motl, R. W. (2013). Effects of exercise training on fitness, mobility, fatigue, and   health-related quality of life among adults with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review to             inform guideline development. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 94(9), 1800-1828.

Mansell, J., Beadle-Brown, J., & Bigby, C. (2013). Implementation of active support in Victoria,             Australia: An exploratory study. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 38(1), 48-58.

Munger, K. L., & Ascherio, A. (2011). Prevention and treatment of MS: studying the effects of    vitamin D. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 17(12), 1405-1411.

Palmer, A. J. (2011). Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis in 2010: Australian MS         Longitudinal Study.

Ramagopalan, S. V., & Sadovnick, A. D. (2011). Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis. Neurologic             clinics, 29(2), 207-217.

Sellner, J., Kraus, J., Awad, A., Milo, R., Hemmer, B., & Stüve, O. (2011). The increasing           incidence and prevalence of female multiple sclerosis—a critical analysis of potential environmental factors. Autoimmunity reviews, 10(8), 495-502.

Simpson, S., Pittas, F., Van Der Mei, I., Blizzard, L., Ponsonby, A. L., & Taylor, B. (2011).         Trends in the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in Greater Hobart, Tasmania: 1951 to 2009. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 82(2), 180-187.

Wingerchuk, D. M., & Carter, J. L. (2014). Multiple sclerosis: current and emerging disease-       modifying therapies and treatment strategies. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 89, No. 2, pp. 225-240). Elsevier.

Wood, B., Van Der Mei, I. A. F., Ponsonby, A. L., Pittas, F., Quinn, S., Dwyer, T., & Taylor,      B. V. (2012). Prevalence and concurrence of anxiety, depression and fatigue over time in multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 1352458512450351.