At the MS Trust, we believe that people living with MS deserve the best possible care.
That’s why we’re launching a new campaign to make sure everyone affected by MS can get access to MS specialists (that is, specialist nurses, as well as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other health professionals with expertise in MS).
There are currently about 100,000 people living with MS in the UK, and around 100 are diagnosed every week. But we still don’t have enough MS specialists. The specialists we do have often have to manage unsustainable caseloads. Click here to read Amy Bowen, Director of Service Development at the MS Trust, explain exactly what the problem is and how we’re working with MS specialists to highlight the difference they make. Click here to find out how you can get involved this MS Awareness Week and make a real difference.
But to launch our campaign, and to get a vivid insight into how people with MS benefit if they have specialists at the heart of their care, we went to Bletchley, Milton Keynes to meet Denise Middleton and Lesley Catterall, and some of the people affected by MS they work with.
Denise and Lesley were the winners of our 2014 MS Super Team award. The MS community of Milton Keynes – people with MS, their friends, families and carers – nominated them and told us of the difference they make every day, from providing information and support, helping people access treatments and therapies and make practical changes that can make everyday life a little easier.
Lesley is an MS specialist nurse, while Denise is an MS specialist with a background in occupational therapy. Their complementary skills mean that people with MS in Milton Keynes receive care tailored to their specific needs, with Lesley focusing on helping people with relapsing remitting MS and Denise helping people with progressive forms of MS. “We were so proud to be named MS Super Team in 2014,” says Denise. “We both love supporting patients with MS and feel very lucky to have such rewarding and fulfilling job.”
“Denise has been so helpful,” says Kathy, who has lived with MS for over 20 years. “She was there when I was diagnosed and has been with me through the years. She comes to see me in my house, which makes it very personal. My husband also needed some support, so we are both really grateful.”
“I know that some people don’t have access to an MS nurse where they live,” says Wendy. “That makes me appreciate Denise all the more. She’s always on hand with up-to-date information that helps me manage my symptoms more effectively. I really don’t know what we’d do without them. The support they provide is invaluable. Everyone with MS should have access to someone like Denise or Lesley, no matter where they live!”
This article is part of the March 2015 issue of Open Door.