A team approach to diagnosing and treating MS

Diagnosing multiple sclerosis can be a long and stressful journey, often taking multiple rounds of tests and visiting multiple doctors.

A confirmed diagnosis of MS is a life-altering event that affects each person in different ways.

Sometimes the complexity of treating multiple symptoms and concerns can overwhelm a single physician.

At the MS Center, we embrace the team approach for coordination of resources and therapies in a timely and cost-effective manner has been well received at MS centers nationally.


What is so special about comprehensive care?

The goal of our comprehensive care model is to reduce your disability, maintain your independence and enhance your safety.

Members of our treatment team concentrate on all aspects of your needs. This includes attention to your emotional and social needs as well as promoting a wellness approach to living with a chronic neurological condition.

Counseling, education and support are important functions of our team, and comprehensive care is enhanced when you an active role in your care.

This combination of individual initiative and group concern can strengthen hope, successfully address issues related to loss and life changes and aid adjustment to daily frustrations and new challenges.


What services are part of comprehensive care for MS?

The structure and orientation of your comprehensive care team will vary depending upon your needs, and will change as your disease progresses.

One thing is certain: our treatment is focused on living well with MS.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy addresses issues such as strength, endurance, flexibility, gait training and fall prevention.

Our physical therapists know the limitations common to MS, and can custom-tailor a home exercise program to maximize your function and improve fatigue levels.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapists help you and your family more effectively manage everyday activities at home and at work. 

They'll assess your home and work environment to optimize your safety and manage your fatigue.  

Therapists also offer your ways to compensate for cognitive changes, such as difficulty with recall, verbal fluency and recall, and multi-tasking. 

Many times, these tools can make the difference in maintaining your employment or school enrollment.

Speech and swallowing evaluation

Specach therapists can help address all aspects of communication, screening for language and cognitive changes for timely interventions, and evaluating swallowing problems which may occur as your MS advances.

A swallowing specialist can evaluate and treat problems using a combination of modified diet, altered swallowing techniques and exercises.

Social Work

Our social workers focus on the psychosocial aspects of MS. 

Your counselor will work closely with the Greater Northwest Chapter of the National MS Society to coordinate the following services: 

  • assistance with obtaining and paying for prescription medications
  • transportation
  • housing
  • home care services
  • financial assistance
  • emotional support
  • workplace accommodations to help maintain employment
  • job search strategies
  • job skills retraining referrals
  • assistance with social security and long term disability applications
  • family medical leave

Neuropsychology

More than half of all people with MS experience problems with memory, attention, word-finding, problem-solving or other cognitive (thinking) skills.

These cognitive changes can vary considerably from one person to another, both in type and severity, and there is little relationship between the severity of your physical symptoms and the severity of your cognitive problems.

One person may have severe physical symptoms but no problems with cognition. Another person may be very physically fit but have severe problems with thinking and remembering.

Our neuropsychologists will evaluate your cognitive skills using tests to identify and measure your cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

Based on the test results, your neuropsychologist can recommend a treatment plan to enhance your cognitive strengths. 

For patients who are students, your neuropsychologist will work with school counselors to accommodate any specific needs, such as a note-taking service and flexibility in timed tests or class schedules. 

For patients who are employed, the neuropsychologist will advise advise appropriate accommodations to your workplace and work schedule, as well as help you in appropriate consideration of disability application.

Nutritionists

Our nutritionists will help you with unwanted weight loss or weight gain, constipation, vitamin deficiency and supplementation, protein-related medication interactions and dehydration.

They may also recommend dietary changes to reduce any swallowing problems.

Community Leaders

The Greater Northwest Chapter of the National MS Society is a key partner in helping you and your family identify wellness programs, including peer support, exercise and stress management classes. 

Creative therapists in art, music and recreation, as well as spiritual counselors, are important resources in a comprehensive wellness program.


Living with advanced MS

In the late stages of MS, the focus will shift to finding ways to optimize your function and quality of life.

While not all MS patients face loss of independence, some do. 

The MS Center's team approach will provide timely interventions to address changes in your cognitive and physical function. 

The team social worker and neuropsychologist will help you and your family gather information about home living arrangements such as assisted care, respite, adult day care and nursing home care.