Evid Based Nurs 7:96 doi:10.1136/ebn.7.3.96
  • Qualitative

Patients’ expressions of awareness of memory problems in early stage Alzheimer’s disease reflected varying combinations of self maintaining and self adjusting styles of responding

 Q What is the nature of patient awareness of memory changes in early stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD)?


Qualitative interview study using interpretive phenomenological analysis.


A memory clinic in a large university hospital in the UK.


12 English speaking patients who were 57–83 years of age (mean age 71 y, 75% men), had a medical diagnosis of AD of minimal severity (Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE] score ⩾18 out of 30), were living with a partner or caregiver willing to participate, and were capable of providing informed consent.


Patients and their spouses participated separately in 2 indepth interviews, 3 months apart. Topics included previous experiences, views of self, coping styles, recognition and impact of memory changes, contact with healthcare services, and views of the future. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed using an interpretive phenomenological approach.


Participant’s accounts of their awareness of memory changes resulted in a tension between a self maintaining stance (ie, maintaining continuity with a prior sense of self) …

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