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My experience of attending the MS Trust Annual Conference 2016

MSFV presentation at Conference 2016

Sarah Brenton, a Clinical Specialist Neurological Physiotherapist, shares her experience and value in attending the MS Trust Conference 2016.

The MS Trust Conference is a fantastic opportunity to update your knowledge of supporting people with MS through sharing best practise and networking in seminars, plenary sessions, exhibitions, poster presentations and information and technology zones.

The highlights of this year’s MS Trust Conference included a presentation by Susan Hourihan, Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist, on the Transition to Secondary Progressive MS, a stage that forces people to redefine their MS. The changing symptoms that people with MS have noticed at transition were identified, strategies that help people with MS manage this stage were discussed. The messages in this seminar were reinforced by the Brain Health workshop presented by Professor Gavin Giovannoni, Consultant Neurologist, who emphasised the positive lifestyle choices a person can make to keep the brain as healthy as possible and how we can support and monitor this for people with MS.

On Monday, new to the MS Trust Conference this year, there was an AHP programme of seminars. The Respiratory management seminar delivered by Rachael Moses, Consultant Respiratory Physiotherapist, was great fun and interactive. We were encouraged to practise breath stacking techniques, and informed about some of the equipment that could support people with MS who are vulnerable to repeated chest infections, via a video case study. A seminar on Practical hints and tips for facilitating improved sleep hygiene was presented by Dr Bronwen Bonfield, Principal Clinical Psychologist. Issues that result from lack of good quality sleep were discussed. It was identified how important it is to establish people’s feelings, thinking, physical environments and behaviour in relation to sleeping in order to support them in improving their sleep hygiene. A summary of the Use of technology in rehabilitation was presented by Dr Lorna Paul, Physiotherapist and Reader in Rehabilitation; it was very informative to see some of the innovations that have been developed.

The closing plenary session evolved into a discussion of how stem cell treatment is being developed as a potential appropriate treatment for people with aggressive MS, discussing the ‘Hype and the Hope’.  There was identification of how important it is to carefully select, support and monitor these people.

The MS Trust Conference facilitates keeping up to date with these developments in the management of people with MS, this I can directly share with colleagues in my team, the MDT, people with MS and their carers. We are supporting people who are managing transition to secondary progressive MS and who are living with disability. It’s important that we continue to monitor and support improvements in their cardiovascular fitness, respiratory fitness and their general health. All of the seminars have supported development of these skills, and the exhibitions provided very valuable information and resources to enhance this further.

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