Nurses ask people to get in touch during MS Awareness Week
Specialist MS nurses at Airedale Hospital are using MS Awareness week (23-29 April) to call for any patients in the community who have a diagnosis of MS but may have not been seen by their service to get in touch – so they can get the benefits of service they can offer. The service uses texts and emails to keep in touch with patients and offers fast track appointments if needed.
Marie Duckworth is the MS Specialist Nurse in the Community Specialist Nursing Team and has taken over from recently retired nurse, Jane Pearce.
Marie says: “There may be patients who have been diagnosed for many years but are not aware of the service we offer. We’d like them to get in touch so we can explain how we can help.”
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition and is caused when your immune system isn’t working properly. Symptoms include fatigue, vision problems or difficulties with walking, but MS is different for everyone. Around 100,000 people in the UK have MS and most get diagnosed between the ages of 20 and their late 60s.
Mark Darlow from Menston, has high praise for the service. Mark, now in his 50’s, was diagnosed with MS at the age of 24 when he started with symptoms of numbness in his right leg. After a series of tests he was diagnosed with primary progressive MS and although he can no longer play his beloved sport of squash he remains positive about his condition.
“What I’ve found is wonderful with the service is that I live my life normally but when I have crises or problems I can contact the nurse and very quickly things get kicked into action. Last year I had this episode and I was really struggling with walking and I hit a low because I thought I was going to have to be in a wheelchair. Straight away I just texted the nurse and I was stunned by how quickly things were put into action. It wasn’t a case of we’ll send you an appointment through in a few months’ time, it was ‘Right, you can come in the next day’. I saw the consultant and straight away he put me on steroids and instructions on what to do, everything was explained clearly to me. If we need to talk about medication or I have certain symptoms and I text her, she will arrange a new medication, contact my GP and all I have to do is pick them up from the chemist. It’s so easy and accessible.”
Marie Duckworth, MS Nurse Specialist in the Community Specialist Nurses Team at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:
“We communicate with our patients by text, email or phone and we do visits and clinics in the community. If someone rings us with symptoms then we work very closely with the neurologist and we have some fast track slots in his clinic so if someone needs it we can usually get them in within the week to see him for an assessment.”
MS is a long term condition and symptoms can fluctuate and relapse, as Marie explains:
“We get to know these patients from diagnosis and throughout their condition. Because of the complexity of MS and the unpredictability and variability, it means that we can finish a period of care and then the next day a patient could ring up with something totally different and that’s how quickly things can change within the world of MS. We can get quick access, we have shared care with the GP, we can keep monitoring them. Plus we offer regular reviews and nurse led clinics 6 monthly or 12 monthly.”
To get in touch with the service email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01535 294552.