#OTalk 28th April 2015 – Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week #MSAwarenessWeek

In February I joined a specialist Multiple Sclerosis service so I thought I’d take the opportunity that it was #MSAwarenessWeek to take part in a CPD activity to develop in my new role, and to learn from and share with all of you too.

The MS Society and the MS Trust are organisations that provide excellent support and information for people with MS and health professionals so do take the time to check out their websites after the chat.

Via the wonders of social media I’ve also found a support community for people with MS – MS Shift.

I thought it is probably worth starting with the basics – and what is MS?

MS is a neurological condition where the myelin coating around nerve fibres in the Central Nervous System are damaged (via an auto immune response) leading to a range of symptoms, due to the fact that signals are no longer able to transmit in as smooth or quick a way as they would usually.

There are three different types of MS – Relapsing Remitting, Secondary Progressive and Primary Progressive. Currently only Relapsing Remitting MS has effective Disease Modifying Therapy treatment in the form of injections or tablets that aim to reduce the risk of relapses.


Different types of MS – MS Trust (3 mins)

There is a whole range of signs and symptoms – and it is these that vary between individuals depending on where the nerve damage occurs.

Here’s a link to a list of symptoms and to a video of six different people sharing how MS affects them.


Range of Symptoms (5 mins)

Fatigue appears to be one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of MS. I’m really lucky to work with a team who have developed an effective evidence based group intervention and I’m looking forward to being involved in delivery of this very soon.


FACETS – Fatigue: Applying Cognitive behavioural and Energy effectiveness Techniques to lifeStyle
Alison Nock and Vicky Slingsby (MS OTs) present – Understanding fatigue and an introduction to the FACETS programme (1 hr 23)

You can find out more here –  and read the journal article here.

Finally here’s a video where two good friends, Anne and Jean, who both have MS, talk about how Anne’s blog, Life wi the Broons has inspired them both to keep trying new things. She mentions my passion of writing so I had to sneak this one in.

 

Points for discussion

  • After reviewing the blog, or based on personal/professional experience what is your understanding of Multiple Sclerosis?
  • What skills do Occupational Therapists have that support managing a condition that presents differently in everyone?
  • MS is typically diagnosed between the ages of 20 – 40 (with symptoms often occurring for a while before diagnosis) – what roles and occupations can therefore typically be affected?
  • Fatigue is one of the prevalent symptoms of MS – what strategies can be employed to help manage it?
  • As Occupational Therapists we use occupation as ends and means – there may be some challenges to people participating in valued occupations so how can we support people to continue participation and to find new, valued occupations?
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