Managing Multiple Sclerosis with a Team
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic illness without a cure. MS is progressive and has a wide variety of symptoms depending on the patient. There are even invisible symptoms -- things like fatigue, bladder and sensory issues that aren't immediately apparent to the naked eye. We are thankful for the work of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), who have so many valuable resources on this subject. The video and information below may be helpful to you as you navigate your patient journey.
Rehabilitation Challenges in MS An intake process with a doctor or nurse is extremely important to take slowly and to provide all the details you possibly can. There are many challenges that may come in the rehabilitation process, including:
-- Invisible symptoms
-- Variable course
-- Anxiety/psychological issues
-- Multiple problems requiring prioritization
-- Lack of insurer or employer understanding of MS symptoms when applying for short or long term disability.
MS Takes a Multi-Disciplinary Approach
With so many different aspects of Multiple Sclerosis, the condition requires a multi-disciplinary approach to effectively address. Some of the disciplines MS may require incluce:
-- Nurse clinician
-- Social Worker
-- Speech/Language Pathologist
-- Occupational Therapist
-- Physical Therapist
-- Primary Care Physician
This is not a comprehensive list, but it's safe to say there is no one professional that can do all things that are necessary to treat a patient with MS. There are many overlapping and shared responsibilities when it comes to a patient's MS care team. Some of these responsibilities include assessment, education, safety, rehabilitation, advocacy, emotional support, home care planning, medication management, symptom management, nutrition and more.
Multiple Sclerosis Team Approach
Your MS team should be on the same page about your disease. Communicate with them about any concerns you have in this realm. If you are seeing multiple different doctors who are not communicating, consider collaboration. The reason you want them all on the same page is because every MS case is different and complex. Being unified and focused on you, the patient, they can offer you the very best care.
Your medical team's goals should include achieving and maintaining rehabilitation goals, getting you to your maximal physical, psychological social and vocational potential, improving quality of life, and maintaining optimal functioning within the course of your disease.