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“MS” – It’s our mission to minimize the impact of these two letters.

By Catherine Tracey, Nurse Coordinator of The Multiple Sclerosis Center at Sturdy Memorial Hospital

The letters M and S, short for Multiple Sclerosis, can be two daunting letters to hear from your physician. However, with medical advances and access to specialized care, such as The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center at Sturdy Memorial Hospital, the impact of the disease can be minimized. Since 1995, The Center’s multidisciplinary team of neurologists, physical therapists, certified nurses, social workers, and others have worked together to deliver coordinated services to people with MS. From helping to find funds for adaptive equipment to providing treatments and support, our team goes the distance to help patients take control of their disease and manage their symptoms.

Members of this community benefit from being able to choose, from many options, where they receive their health care. I am happy to say that those same community members, who have been diagnosed with MS, also have choices. And though there are options, one does not have to travel far to receive top-notch care – The MS Center at Sturdy has the ability to address the complex needs of patients. On a daily basis, I work with our patients to be sure that they are receiving needed services in the most streamlined way possible. Our team of providers serves as the core of the treatment group assuring that appointments with other providers are coordinated. With leadership from Dr. Tarun Singhal, a physician of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, board-certified Neurologist and Medical Director of The MS Center, it is our mission to improve the well-being of all patients seen in the center.

“I had to quit my job in the restaurant business, and I can’t play golf like I used to,” says Monroe, “but it doesn’t mean I’m going to take a backseat to life and miss out on it.”

Much of MS care is targeted to prevent disease progression. Medications, physical therapy, and other treatments can keep many of these problems under control and help preserve patients’ physical, cognitive, and vocational functioning. However, the secondary symptoms are sometimes under-recognized and under-treated. Maximizing overall health requires identifying and managing them. Symptoms such as fatigue and sleep disruption, bladder infections, pain and decreased muscle tone and bone density, and stress and depression, require close monitoring and communication with your physician. Individualized care and treatment plans may include medications, physical, occupational, and speech/language therapy, exercise and other modalities such as meditation and yoga.

Serving as the Nurse Coordinator for The MS Center and working with MS patients for many years, has given me insight into how care and attention can impact someone diagnosed with MS. Symptoms can be subtle and then even disappear, leaving many undiagnosed for long periods of time. Once MS has been diagnosed, patients can feel reassured knowing that what they have been feeling is real and they can now move on to managing and treating those sometimes debilitating symptoms. That’s where we are able to step up as health care professionals and limit any further confusion or loneliness that can unfortunately accompany MS. Additionally, some patients come to the center and MS is ruled out. In these cases patients can be referred to other providers for treatment. From diagnosing the disease to treating and minimizing symptoms to navigating appointments and recommendations to maximizing quality of life and improving well-being – The MS Center team has been providing exceptional care for over 20 years and looks forward to continuing to care for you well into the future.

For more information about The Multiple Sclerosis Center at Sturdy, our treatments and services or to make an appointment, please call 508-236-7170.

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