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).
Methods: A 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 (P<0.001), physical health composite from 66.2 to 76.4 (P=0.001) and mental health composite from 73.7 to 83.6 (P<0.001) 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 (P<0.01) in the subset of 44 with data at both time points.
Conclusions: HRQOL 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.