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  • No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · BMJ (online)
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    ABSTRACT: In this review, we attempt to bring the reader up to date with recent developments in the area of assessment of quality of life (QOL) of patients with epilepsy, in both the research and clinical contexts. We present evidence from recent publications on the major and most commonly used QOL instruments for both adults and children with epilepsy, including both strengths and limitations. We discuss both generic measures and ones that have been developed specifically for use in the epilepsy population. We draw attention to some of the broader issues that render the QOL assessment endeavor a somewhat complex one-in particular, that epilepsy is not a single condition, with a common clinical trajectory; and that QOL measures as currently configured almost universally focus on its negative impacts, largely neglecting the possibility of those affected being able to retain reasonable social adjustment and life satisfaction. Finally, we suggest that further work needs to focus on plugging the current evidence gaps in relation to psychometric and cross-cultural applicability issues; and on the value of QOL instruments in the clinical care setting. We conclude by highlighting a number of issues from the QOL literature that will, in our view, be the focus of increasing research interest in the next few years.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic Kidney Disease disproportionately affects the poor in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Mexico exemplifies the difficulties faced in supporting Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT) and providing equitable patient care, despite recent attempts at health reform. The objective of this study is to document the challenges faced by uninsured, poor Mexican families when attempting to access RRT. The article takes an ethnographic approach, using interviewing and observation to generate detailed accounts of the problems that accompany attempts to secure care. The study, based in the state of Jalisco, comprised interviews with patients, their caregivers, health and social care professionals, among others. Observations were carried out in both clinical and social settings. In the absence of organised health information and stable pathways to renal care, patients and their families work extraordinarily hard and at great expense to secure care in a mixed public-private healthcare system. As part of this work, they must navigate challenging health and social care environments, negotiate treatments and costs, resource and finance healthcare and manage a wide range of formal and informal health information. Examining commonalities across pathways to adequate healthcare reveals major failings in the Mexican system. These systemic problems serve to reproduce and deepen health inequalities. A system, in which the costs of renal care are disproportionately borne by those who can least afford them, faces major difficulties around the sustainability and resourcing of RRTs. Attempts to increase access to renal therapies, therefore, need to take into account the complex social and economic demands this places on those who need access most. This paper further shows that ethnographic studies of the concrete ways in which healthcare is accessed in practice provide important insights into the plight of CKD patients and so constitute an important source of evidence in that effort.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · PLoS ONE
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