Making the most out of online/telephone appointments

The MS Trust has put together this guide on how to make the most of online appointments with healthcare professionals. 

Getting prepared beforehand 

  • Find the right environment. With virtual appointments, it’s down to you to find an appropriate setting for the call. Have a think beforehand about where you’d feel most comfortable. Is there a quiet room in your house which would give you a private space to talk? If you have a particularly busy household, let your family know you’re having a private call to reduce the chance of interruptions.  
  • Allow time to get the technology set up. Make sure your phone, tablet or laptop is fully charged. Test out the camera too – is there enough light in the room so you can be seen? If it’s a video appointment and you need to download an app or log into another platform, then do this in plenty of time just in case there are any hiccups.  
  • Consider the device you’re using. If it’s a video call and you want to show visible symptoms, such as changes to your walking, then using a tablet on a stand, a laptop or a webcam on a computer may be more practical than trying to balance your phone on pieces of furniture. Make some notes beforehand. Prepare as you normally would for a face-to-face appointment by writing down what you’d like to discuss. Have things changed with your MS? Are there particular symptoms you’re struggling with? Are side effects from medication becoming a problem?
  • Make a list of all these things. You might want to put the most important things at the top of list to make sure they get covered.

If it’s a video appointment make sure you’re ready five minutes beforehand to log on to the call. 

– Person with MS

During the appointment 

  • Use your notes. Start by letting your health professional know what you want to talk about, then work through your list of priorities one by one. There may be other things your health professional raises which need to be discussed too. 
  • Be prepared to take notes. Have a notepad and pen ready so you can make notes during the appointment. If you’re using your phone, consider using the loudspeaker function so you can take notes at the same time. 
  • Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not clear on something your health professional has said or if you want a more detailed answer.  
  • Clarify what happens next. It can be helpful to finish the appointment with a quick summary of what’s been discussed and the next steps that need to be taken. Is there anything you’ve been asked to do following the appointment? Is your MS nurse or neurologist referring you on to another service? Keep a note of what needs to happen next and when. 

Don’t be afraid to ask them to change the set up so you feel more connected. In my appointment the nurse started looking to one side because of the different screens/webcam position, so it was like they were addressing someone else! I flagged it and they shifted so they were looking into the camera and we had eye contact. It’s so important when you’re not face to face. 

– Person with MS

After the appointment 

  • Go through your action points. Maybe you need to pick up a prescription for a new medication or try some new management strategies for your fatigue. Take some time to try out the advice you’ve been given. 
  • Review how the appointment went. Did you get everything out of the appointment that you needed to? Was there enough time to cover everything on your list? Make a note of anything you didn’t talk about so you can prioritise this next time.  

My video appointment worked well. There was no hassle travelling to the appointment, parking and sitting in the waiting room. 

– Person with MS

I’ve had several positive video appointments. My MS nurse was able to share his screen and show me my MRI scans which was great. – Person with MS

Although virtual appointments can be very productive for some people, they’re not always appropriate for everyone. If you feel that a virtual appointment hasn’t worked well for you then do speak to your MS team about the possibility of seeing someone face to face.

Original Article: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/news/views-and-comments/how-make-most-virtual-appointments

Updated list of treatments currently available

 

Therapies (updated Sept 2020)

MONDAY

Osteopathy      9.15 – 3.15pm, Patricia, ¾ hr

TUESDAY

Oxygen           10.30am

Physiotherapy 9.00 – 4pm, Patricia, ¾ hr

Foot Care        4-6 weekly, Janet½ hr

WEDNESDAY

Massage,         ½hr or 1hr

Hot Stone Massage, 1½hr

Reflexology & Beauty Therapies 1hr, 9 – 4pm, Helen 

THURSDAY

Oxygen           10.30

Acupuncture    9.15–2pm Tim, 1st & 3rd Thurs, ¾hr

NEW – starting 5th Nov, Manual therapist trained in Osteopathic technique, 9.15-3.15, David Harsant

FRIDAY

Oxygen            10.30am

Massage,          ½hr or 1hr

Hot Stone Massage, 1½hrs

Reflexology & Beauty Therapies, 1hr, 9-4pm, Helen  

SATURDAY (occasionally, please ask reception)

Massage,         ½hr or 1hr

Hot Stone Massage, 1½hrs

Reflexology & Beauty Therapies, 1hr, 10-4pm, Helen

Osteopathy

Patricia will be doing 2 osteopathy appointments in October on 12th and 26th.  David Harsant will be starting as ‘manual therapist trained in osteopathic technique’ on THURSDAY 5th November, appointments will remain on a THURSDAY from then on. Any questions please let us know. 

Covid-19-induced changes in the management of multiple sclerosis

Source BMJ: Interesting article by Gavin Giovannoni, consultant neurologist at Barts Health NHS Trust and colleagues describe the move to provide remote care to patients with multiple sclerosis, and Rachel Horne and Alison Thomson, provide insight into what patients think of them. 

The sudden switch to remote working 

With the onset of lockdown all NHS staff who could work from home were asked to do so. This meant that they had to be given remote access to IT systems. Prior to covid-19, consultants had to wait years to be granted access to electronic patient records from home. Suddenly, within days we were given the freedom to create virtual private networks on our home computers using smartphone technology for secure login and user authentication. Read on. 

MS and swallowing problems

Problems with swallowing may not be the most heard of MS symptom but it affects at least a third of people living with MS. 

For some people, these changes come and go, or happen during a relapse and never re-appear. But for others, they can be an ongoing issue. Any changes to swallowing can feel strange and worrying, even if they are small changes.

But however your swallowing is affected, there are things you can do to make swallowing as easy, comfortable and safe as possible.

The MS Society recommends a few tips to help with swallowing problems including: 

  • eating slowly 
  • chewing well
  • good posture

They have some techniques to help: https://www.mssociety.org.uk/about-ms/signs-and-symptoms/swallowing

Read the MS Society’s techniques and information about swallowing

Managing Fatigue – online webinar with the MS Society

The MS Society is running a number of online sessions bringing people with MS together to discuss different MS-related topics. 

On Wednesday 23 September they will be bringing people together (online of course) to talk about Understanding and Managing Fatigue. 

What to expect?

  • Virtually meet others from the UK who have MS
  • Have a chance to share experiences
  • Discuss managing your fatigue after lockdown
  • Share top tips on how to manage fatigue

This is not a Berkshire MS Therapy Centre event, it is organised and led by the MS Society. 

You can find out more and sign up here: https://www.mssociety.org.uk/care-and-support/everyday-living/living-well-with-ms-sessions/time-to-chat—managing-fatigue—wednesday-23-september-2pm

DONATED MOTOMED

A Motomed has been donated to the Centre.

This is the name of the “bikes” we have in the gym. As we have two in the gym already, we do not need or have room for a third one, so it has been decided to sell it.

It is in excellent condition, and we would expect to sell it for £2,500 (it would cost about £5,000 new). If you are interested in buying it, please let Sue know by 8th October.

Centre up and running

It’s been a few weeks now but the centre is fully open. 

All therapies are running. 

We are Covid compliant. 

All therapists and volunteers know the procedures to follow and everything is running very well. 

Main points to remember:-

The front door is locked, ring the doorbell when you arrive and your temperature will be taken.  

Do not arrive early for your appointment. 

If the doorbell isn’t answered quickly please remember, especially if it’s a Monday, the therapist might be carrying out a treatment, hence do not show up early for your appointment.

Use the hand sanitiser by the front door and wear a mask (or masks are at the centre). 

Bring in your own towel/blanket/dressing gown/water if required. 

We look forward to seeing you all.

True or False

From the MS Trust:

‘We live in an information age. Now more than ever before we have ready access to an enormous quantity of data about health, treatments and research – from the internet, though the press, and on social media. But how do we know who to trust and understand what all this information is telling us? Simon from the MS Trust’s Information Team has some tips to help you find the health information you can trust.’ 

Read the tips in the article on the MS Trust website here: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/news/focus-fact-or-fiction