Caring for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
The nervous system of the body contains the nerves, brain, and spinal cord. The nervous system controls these organs as well as other organs in the body. It helps the body and mind to function and interact with the world. Chronic conditions or diseases that affect the nervous system are strokes, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the nervous system. When people have this disease, their nerve cells cannot communicate with other nerve cells or with the brain. The disease destroys the protective coating on the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord.
Symptoms of MS include difficulty walking, moving, and eating; muscle tremors and weakness; feelings of tingling or numbness; and problems with speech, vision, and the urinary system. Patients with MS are often extremely tired. Many patients with MS use wheelchairs. In the final stages of MS, patients may become paralyzed because of the overall nerve damage in the body.
When caring for patients with MS, try to get the patient to do small tasks or movements independently, if he can do them without pain. If the patient is in a wheelchair, help him do range-of-motion exercises that he can do in his wheelchair to prevent joints from becoming stiff. Even small exercises will help him to feel better and more capable.
There is no cure for MS, so patients will appreciate healthcare workers listening and responding to their difficulties with concern, patience, and encouragement.