More MS news articles for Aug 2001

Researchers explore disability and handicap among MS patients

July 6, 2001

A recent study conducted in Ireland explored the spectrum of disability and handicap among MS patients.

“Much knowledge exists about the epidemiology of MS but, despite its importance for health and social service planning, there remains relatively little data on the extent and nature of disability and handicap in this population,” the researchers said.

A total of 288 patients were identified. Disability and handicap were assessed using two different scales. Overall, 248 patients completed both scales.

The researchers found that only 29 percent of the patients were fully independent in all basic activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming and feeding.

Data indicated that 23 percent of the patients were unable to climb a flight of stairs and 33 percent were unable to drive a car or use public transportation.

Moreover, 42 percent experienced problems with sexual function.

In the study population, 25 percent said they were working full-time, whereas 21 percent did not work.

Overall, 18 percent had changed residence because of MS, 5 percent were institutionalized, 35 percent required assistance at least one hour each day and 17 percent participated in community services for at least one hour daily.

“These data give a clear indication of the considerable range of basic health and social issues in a typical MS community,” the authors wrote. “Further work is required to establish patient perceptions of the adequacy of care provision and whether standards of care for MS patients are being met.”

The study appeared in a recent issue of Multiple Sclerosis.