OBJECTIVE. To examine the factors influencing the implementation and continued use of energy conservation strategies among persons with multiple sclerosis.
METHOD. A qualitative research design was used. Eight persons with multiple sclerosis who participated in a 6-week energy conservation educational course delivered by teleconference were interviewed using a semistructured, open-ended format. Participants were asked about their thoughts, feelings, and actions resulting from course participation. They also were engaged in a card-sort activity to promote discussion about using the energy conservation strategies. The data were analyzed thematically.
FINDINGS. Three themes directly addressed and interacted to enhance or hinder the use of energy conservation strategies: (1) experience with the disease, (2) sense of self, and (3) environmental factors. The fourth theme of education emphasized how participation in the educational course and use of the strategies afterward gave participants a new ability to manage their lives with multiple sclerosis.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS. The findings of this study demonstrated that the use of energy conservation strategies is not dependent on a single factor but rather on complex, interrelated contextual factors.