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Publication Detail
What are the experiences of adults returning to work following recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome? An interpretative phenomenological analysis
Purpose. Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is a transient inflammatory disorder affecting peripheral nerves, characterised by weakness and numbness in limbs, upper body and face. Residual problems affect a large minority, and complicate return to work. This qualitative study explored the experiences of people who returned to work following their diagnosis of GBS and recovery, to gain insight into factors that facilitated or inhibited this process. Method. Five people participated in in-depth interviews. Individual and common experiences were explored through interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings. Three recurring themes are presented: the perceived value of work; losing and recovering a familiar identity at work; and dilemmas around using support and adaptations at work. Certain individual issues also emerged but are beyond the scope of this article. Participants tended to measure their recovery in terms of returning to work yet continued to experience certain physical and psychosocial difficulties at work related to GBS, which required active coping strategies. Limited public awareness of GBS was perceived as a hindrance when returning to work. Conclusion. This study provides a rich account of the experiences that people encounter returning to work following GBS. Rehabilitation specialists may offer more effective preparation for this process, drawing upon the issues identified
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