The Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to supporting people with MS and securing the care they need in their everyday lives. It is also a major UK funder of biomedical research into MS.
Care and Support
The Society’s services are as diverse as the complexity of the disease, embracing respite and day care, physical therapies, financial support, counselling, advocacy and campaigning, training and, above all, information. Thousands of enquiries are handled every month by the Society’s telephone helpline and information services. Its trained staff have access to one of the most comprehensive MS information databases and libraries anywhere in the world.
A nationwide network of more than 370 Society branches run by volunteers offers readily accessible practical assistance with home aids and adaptations, mobility and other services and advice. They hold regular social functions and meetings where members can share common problems. Special attention is given to advising and supporting those who have been recently diagnosed with MS.
There are eight Society-funded respite care centres and holiday homes. The respite centres provide high standards of professional care in comfortable and attractive surroundings for people with MS, allowing families and carers their own much-needed break from an often demanding routine.
The Society has undertaken social research into the needs and priorities of people affected by MS, including work on the delivery of services. Many people still believe they are being told at diagnosis simply to get on with their lives. Yet the reality is that a great deal of help can be given to relieve symptoms ranging from severe fatigue and incontinence through sensory and motor loss to pain, spasm and sexual problems.
With this in mind, the Society has produced standards of healthcare in MS, drawn up in collaboration with the National Hospital for Neurology, designed to help professionals who work with people with MS, their families and carers to identify their needs for high quality and equally available services. To turn them into practice, it has launched a ‘Measuring Success’ programme which encourages multidisciplinary teams to be assessed against the standards.
The MS Society is currently supporting over 60 biomedical research programmes in universities and hospitals. More than £46 million has been committed in the past 20 years in areas including immunology, virology, glial biology and genetics. Current forward commitment is in excess of £8 million.
One of the most significant developments in recent years has been the use of magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brain and spinal cord. This is a technique which can monitor the progress of MS and help to develop new approaches to therapy. The Society continues to fund the expanding work of the first MRI research unit devoted entirely to MS, which it was responsible for setting up at the Institute of Neurology in London.
It also funded a £2 million inter-disciplinary research unit at the Brain Repair Centre in Cambridge. Work there is initially concentrating on one of the most challenging and promising areas of MS research: limiting and repairing the damage caused to the brain and spinal cord.
The Society is developing a programme to apply the resources of science to the day to day problems of living with MS. Research has already been funded on treating symptoms such as tremor, incontinence and cognitive problems, along with trials of drugs and other interventions.
[boxibt style=”success”]The Multiple Sclerosis Society
25 Effie Road
Telephone: 020 7610 7171.
Helpline: Freephone 0808 800 8000 (9am – 9pm Monday to Friday).
[boxibt style=”success”]MS Society Scotland
Tel: 0131 472 4106
MS Society Northern Ireland
34 Annadale Avenue
Telephone: 028 9080 2802
Registered charity number: 207495
For Further information visit the website