Relational Issues Within Couples Coping With Parkinson's Disease: Implications and Ideas for Family-Focused Care

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The ways in which Parkinson's disease (PD) impacts, and is experienced by, the couple (i.e., the individual with PD and his or her spouse or other romantic partner) have not been fully elucidated. Such research is strongly warranted because when one member of a couple is chronically ill, it can cause major distress for not only the patient but also for his or her partner and their relationship. Therefore, the goal of this study was to examine how PD affects a couple's relationship. Data from 44 individual, in-depth interviews (with 21 persons with PD and 23 partners) revealed several challenges that PD commonly invokes in the patient-partner relationship, though most participants reported that PD had not decreased their overall relational closeness. The findings have significant practical implications for family-focused care.

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