“I have discovered in life that I can do anything but I can’t do everything. No one can go it alone. Create your team!”
If you have multiple sclerosis or are a friend or support partner of someone with MS, knowing how to access those people who can help you manage better is essential. In our health care system, we generally see our providers on an as needed basis or as a regular scheduled check up. In the case of a chronic illness, visits may be more frequent and may involve more input than what you get from a single provider. Forming a “health care team” to provide additional expertise, support and services will make the journey with MS easier.
If MS is uncomplicated, limiting care to a primary care provider and a neurology care provider is adequate. Complications can occur, often sporadic, but needing attention beyond what basic providers can deliver. Knowing who the additional team members are and how to access their expertise is good information and will help a person with MS and their families deal with a variety of issues. Without the support of the team, people tend to lose more function, become isolated, and suffer from symptoms that may have treatment options. Below is an example of the kinds of team members who might be useful.
It could be that some of these people or groups are not known to you. If not, ask your providers how to access them. The local National MS Society Chapter will be able to direct you to many. If you live in a more populated area, these team members may all be available. In smaller, rural areas, some of these members may not be available but others may be able to assist. It’s important for you to feel empowered to know what help you need and how to get it.