All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for July 2003

National MS Society Publishes New Guidebook To Aid Nursing Homes In Caring For People With MS

July 10, 2003
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The Professional Resource Center at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is pleased to announce a new addition to its comprehensive library of MS information, titled Nursing Home Care of Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis: Guidelines and Recommendations for Quality Care. Created by a task force of internal and external experts in the field of MS and long term care, the Society produced guide is the first document in a series that addresses strategies to improve disease management and quality of life for people with MS, who require substantial daily assistance.

The guidelines have been designed to provide practical information to aid clinicians and administrators in enhancing the care of residents with MS, an incredibly unpredictable disease, affecting an estimated 400,000 people in the United States alone. The need for a handbook focusing on the nursing home setting grew out of the many questions the Society received from nursing home staff about providing the targeted, specialized care required by their residents with MS. Traditional geriatric care often does not meet the demands of this unique population, which tends to be younger, more mentally alert, much higher users of facility services, and subject to far longer stays in extended care facilities.

To fill the void, the new document includes clinical practice information, practical tips and best practices with regard to nursing and daily care, rehabilitation, psychosocial needs and cognitive issues. Other sections include information on assisting families with the nursing home admission process, training materials and resources for health care professionals, as well as appendices covering medications commonly used in MS and recommended resources for further reading.

"The guidelines are intended to support the needs and facilitate the work of professional healthcare providers," says Dorothy Northrop, director of clinical programs at the Society. "We launched a series of guidelines and recommendations for long-term care settings with a handbook for nursing homes because of the relatively large MS population residing in extended care centers. This is often the result of inadequate community support and insurance coverage here in the U.S."

While the guidelines are specific to multiple sclerosis, they will likely apply to other individuals with chronic disabilities, especially the younger residents in nursing homes. Many of the recommendations regarding psychosocial and quality of life issues are relevant to all adults living in a long term care facility.

The next publication of the series will focus on assisted living, expected to be released in the spring of 2004. Subsequent publications will be developed for adult day programs and home care.

Copyright © 2003, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society