Shared decision-making is cornerstone of MS treatment

June 26, 2017
According to a new report, shared decision-making between patients and their doctors and nurses is central to the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The findings suggest that the more patients feel they are supported, the more comfortable they are to manage their own disease and feel empowered to make decisions about their care and their lives.
 
The article, by Amy Perrin Ross, neuroscience program coordinator at Loyola University Medical Center and a member of the board of directors of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, points out that in shared decision-making, the clinician and patient work together to make decisions and select tests, treatments, and care plans. The process encompasses evidence-based treatments as well as lifestyle and environmental factors. The clinician educates the patient about the disease and makes recommendations based on risk factors, genetic factors, potential triggers and other elements.
 
The five steps of shared decision-making are:
  • Engage patient participation
  • Explore and compare treatment options
  • Assess patient values and preferences
  • Reach a decision on treatment with the patient
  • Evaluate the patient decision
 
The report notes that a comprehensive team approach often is needed to ensure patients are well informed about effective treatments and a healthy lifestyle. The team can include a neurologist, nurse, physician assistant, primary care provider, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, podiatrist, psychiatrist, urologist, nutritionist and pharmacist. A nurse coordinator or nurse case manager can help coordinate care and guide patients through the process.
 
The report was published in the journal Practical Neurology.

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