The latest study from CaHRU, ‘Patients’ experiences and perceptions of Guillain-Barré syndrome: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative research’ was published in the international journal, PLOS One, this February 2021. The study was funded by the GAIN charity and led by Prof Niro Siriwardena, with a team including Despina Laparidou and Dr Joseph Akanuwe from CaHRU, Dr Ffion Curtis from the Lincoln International Institute for Rural Health, Dr Jennifer Jackson (Lincoln International Business School) and Professor Tim Hodgson (School of Psychology).
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare condition which rapidly affects the myelin sheath of nerve cells, often leading very rapidly to complete paralysis including of the muscles enabling us to breathe, so that people with the condition often require intensive care and ventilator support. Fortunately, most people fully recover during the next two years or longer, but others experience longer-term physical, psychological or social problems. The team conducted the first systematic review of qualitative studies exploring experiences of people with GBS.
The University of Lincoln researchers searched twelve electronic databases, supplemented with internet and reference searches, and identified five studies for review from over 5000 citations. The detailed analysis of these five studies provided an in-depth perspective of the patient with GBS’ journey from suspecting that they had a problem, to admission to hospital, their experience of ongoing difficulties, and slow recovery from GBS. The themes identified, ‘from uncertainty to hope’, ‘feeling lost in a changing life, ‘fractured care’, ‘positivity towards recovery’, ‘adjustment’ and ‘towards a new self’, showed the challenges for an individual’s body, mind, relationships, work, and their future lives, as well as health care needs, as they came to terms with their illness.