Concord Hospital’s Multiple Sclerosis Specialty Care Program Announces Participation in the MS Foundation Wellness Program

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Published on July 31, 2017

Concord Hospital’s Multiple Sclerosis Specialty Care Program at Neurology Associates Announces Participation in the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Wellness Program

The program pairs Multiple Sclerosis participants with peer mentors who are Concord Hospital volunteers trained by the National MS Society. They assist participants in engaging in activities to better their health and wellness, but do not have access and/or financial means. The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF) has provided funding for 12-15 participants to enroll in the program.

With the help of a peer mentor, participants formulate an individual wellness plan and then carry it out with support from the peer mentor and with funding provided by the program to cover costs for activities, resources and transportation. A unique part of this program is that the peer mentors will do the wellness activities with each participant as well as provide ongoing support. The program provides a full year of mentorship and resources to participants.

“This program is innovative in that it addresses many of the barriers that prevent wellness outreach in rural areas,” says Brant Oliver, PhD, MS, MPH, APRN-BC, principal investigator of the grant funded outreach program. “It brings wellness supports to people with MS where they are and leverages peer support networks to motivate and advise progress.”

Each participant and mentor team will receive up to $1,000 in funding during the course of the program. Any activity which can reasonably improve overall wellness (exercise, education, hobby, nutrition, relaxation training, T’ai chi, yoga, etc.) qualifies for funding. The funding cannot be used for non-wellness activities, standard medical care costs or treatments.

“I started with the MSF Wellness Grant as a mentee,” said Bonnie Norton. “I met with my mentor to discuss what my wellness plan would be. I knew that I wanted to get stronger to improve my gait and do something to help my muscle pain. I was able to get a gym membership to help build my strength and stamina as well as a massage once a month. I felt better than I had in a long time and saw firsthand the benefits of this grant and wanted to pay it forward. I am now a mentor and enjoy guiding others on their path to wellness, sharing my experience. I continue to benefit from the grant even as a mentor.”

Any person with MS who is followed by the MS Specialty Care Program at Neurology Associates and interested in pursuing wellness activities or has problems accessing wellness programs or resources is eligible.

Participants must meet with their peer mentors at least once a month, formulate a personal wellness plan and carry out the plan. They also need to complete online surveys every three months.

"Dr. Brant Oliver and Dr. Ann Cabot are an inspiration to the New Hampshire MS patient community in every way,” said Charles Kupperman, peer mentor. “Their program connects patients to work together in taking charge of our lives—to not let MS dictate our lifestyle—is unique. Yes, we have MS, but that just means we find a way to lead the active lives we seek. Nothing stands in our way working as a team."

The MS Specialty Care Program at Neurology Associates provides care focused on the body, mind, emotions and environment, as well as emphasizes intervention, prevention and education. The multidisciplinary team consists of a neurologist, a mental health specialist, nurse, a nurse practitioner, physical therapist, occupational therapist, social worker, nutritionist, as well as medical assistants, peer volunteers and National Multiple Sclerosis Society representatives. Together they provide expert consultations and diagnostic evaluations, manage disease modifying therapies, and provide comprehensive symptom management, education and health counseling.

“I am so delighted to be working with Concord Hospital,” said Ann Cabot, DO, medical director, Multiple Sclerosis Specialty Care Program at Neurology Associates. “They have been very supportive of the MS multidisciplinary program and are always interested in ways we can expand services to meet the needs of our MS patients. Wellness approaches help decrease some of the many symptoms MS patients experience including fatigue, depression, spasticity, gait and balance. Engaging as a team to help empower MS patients has been very rewarding.”

To learn more about the MS Specialty Care Program at Neurology Associates call (603) 224-6691.

                                                            

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