Wearables in real life: A qualitative study of experiences of people with epilepsy who use home seizure monitoring devices

Epilepsy Behav. 2021 Nov 13;125:108398. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.108398. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To explore the experiences of people with epilepsy using wearables for home seizure monitoring.

METHODS: Nine people with epilepsy participated in eighteen semistructured individual interviews before and after home monitoring with wearable seizure monitoring equipment. An open-ended interview guide was used to encourage the participants to elaborate on their thoughts and experiences. Interviews were analyzed using a three-level process inspired by the philosopher Max van Manen.

RESULTS: The overall findings illustrate that patients experienced being placed in the spotlight when wearing wearables. The meaning of being in this spotlight is reflected in three themes: Becoming vulnerable through exposure, Standing alone while being with others, and Having a renewed life situation. The analysis and interpretation showed that although the participants expressed readiness to use the wearables, they were less willing to do so after a few days of monitoring. The visibility of the devices influenced how they experienced themselves and were perceived by others.

CONCLUSION: For people with epilepsy, wearables are more than just technical tools; they have a significant existential impact on everyday life. Wearables spotlight the epilepsy condition, and this causes people with epilepsy to experience an existential disruption, as they experience being exposed and vulnerable. This results in a renewed way of perceiving oneself. Nevertheless, wearables also validate epilepsy symptoms, thereby reducing the uncertainty related to epilepsy.

PMID:34785410 | DOI:10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.108398

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