Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition that affects the body’s defense system making it turn against the person’s body. This condition is as a result of the destruction of the myelin sheath, the insulating material that protects the spinal cord and the brain. The destruction of the sheath results in hardened areas leading to distortion of nerve impulses to the brain. Currently about 40,000 Americans are suffering from this condition and the number is growing by the day. Multiple sclerosis poses unique challenges since it is a highly unpredictable disease. Caring for these MS patients at home is usually considered as the best option since it is a chronic illness.
Though patients suffering from multiple sclerosis can die from complications most of them often have normal life expectancy as long as they are given the right treatment and care. One of the critical components of multiple sclerosis management is homecare. This assists in getting the patient to adjust to life in a familiar environment surrounded by family and friends. Although most patients who suffer from this condition can manage on their own there are many times when they may need an extra pair of hands to attend to their needs.
Care tips for Multiple sclerosis Patients:
Dizziness, fatigue and blurred vision are some of the common complications associated with the condition. When patients are experiencing such symptoms safety becomes a critical component of their homecare in order to assist them navigate around the home. At such time companions, family members or homecare workers should provide direction and guidance as the patients move around the house. Modifications to the home may include handrails and devices to assist them such as wheelchairs.
Personal hygiene can pose immense challenges for patients living with this condition. Patients who have been discharged from hospital following a relapse often require assistance with medication. These patients may also require help with catheter management as well as exercise programs.
Exercise is important for patients living with this disorder in order to assist them keep fit while guarding against fatigue. Exercise program may include elements of physical therapy which is directed and facilitated at home by professional care providers.
This is a common problem faced by people living with MS. Fatigue associated with this condition is often disabling and overwhelming. Encouraging the patient to take a nap on a special pressure care mattress helps the patient to function normally. Caregivers should avoid using electric blankets or heating pads in order to avoid overheating.
Effective homecare involves providing nutritious meals to patients living with multiple sclerosis. These patients are likely to experience swallowing difficulties which may hinder them from feeding effectively. Constipation is a common complication for people suffering from MS. Increasing fiber in the diet with raw vegetables, nuts, fruits and whole grain bread helps in managing this complication.
Patients suffering from multiple sclerosis experience pain that may be described as burning, tics or pins and needles. Staying active usually helps to reduce the impact of the pain. Caregivers should avoid using heat on the neck, head or spine since this tends to exacerbate symptoms. If the patient is experiencing sharp pain while ambulating using a wheelchair may offer some relieve to the patient.