Aim To evaluate the effect of a residential retreat on promoting lifestyle modification for the health related quality of life (HRQOL) of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). MethodsA longitudinal cohort study of adults with self-reported MS who voluntarily attended a five-day residential retreat in rural Victoria, Australia. Participants were asked to complete the MSQOL-54 questionnaire just prior to the retreat, and at one year and 2.5 years post-retreat. Results Of 188 participants 109 (58%) completed the questionnaire. The cohort showed a significant improvement in HRQOL at one year and 2.5 year follow-up. After one year, overall quality of life (QOL) domain had increased from 73.4 to 81.7 (P0.001), physical health composite from 66.2 to 76.4 (P=0.001) and mental health composite from 73.7 to 83.6 (P0.001) in the subset of 76 with data at both time points. After 2.5 years, overall QOL had increased from 68.4 to 71.7 (P=0.03), physical health 59.7 to 70.0 (P=0.01), and mental health 66.9 to 76.6 (P0.01) in the subset of 44 with data at both time points. ConclusionsHRQOL usually deteriorates over time in people with MS. Attendance at a residential retreat promoting lifestyle modification appears to have a significant short–medium term positive effect on QOL for people with MS. General practitioners caring for people with MS should consider the potential benefits of this approach in overall management.
George A Jelinek, Michelle Pui-Ming Li, Tracey J Weiland, Claire A Mackinlay, Sherelle Dye, Ian Gawler