More MS news articles for January 2001

Community Services For UK Patients With Multiple Sclerosis Remain Uncertain

By Veronica Rose

SA DGReview of :"Community services in multiple sclerosis: still a matter of chance"
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, & Psychiatry

Community based patients with multiple sclerosis are not apparently receiving the services they require in the United Kingdom, according to recent research.

Dr. Alan Thompson and Dr. JA Freeman from the Institute of Neurology in London designed a study to establish what percentage of patients had their multiple specific needs provided for, following the transition from hospital to community care.

Participants included 150 subjects clinically diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. A structured questionnaire was used to determine their present use of out-patient and community services and what home modifications were in place. Researchers also measured disability, handicap and emotional status.

Beyond contact with their general practitioner, 45 percent received no community services. Thirty-nine percent with moderate disability and 12 percent with severe disability did not receive any community services.

Among those who received services, 17 percent were in contact with a community nurse and 33 percent had a care attendant or home help.

Of the remedial therapy provisions, 23 percent had contact with a physiotherapist and 21 percent with an occupational therapist. Only ten percent had contact with a social worker.

Modifications were undertaken in the homes of 58 percent of patients as a direct result of their diagnosis. However, the correlation between their level of disability, the number of services required and adaptations provided was only moderate (R= 0.58 and 0.54, respectively).

The relation between the level of service received and age (r=0.12), living alone (r=0.16) and emotional status (r=0.10) was considered negligible.

Considering that the emphasis has shifted from hospital to community care, the researchers concluded that their results raise questions relative to the allocation of resources. Furthermore, an urgent need for review of community services is highlighted.

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 2000 Vol 69 pp 728- 732. "Community services in multiple sclerosis: still a matter of chance"