In order to better inform local clinical practice, we collected primary data from our local MS population. We addressed important aspects concerning relapse management, bone health, mental health, sphincter dysfunction, symptom burden, recognition of comorbidities and pharmacological treatment. An emphasis was placed on discovering the extent of patient satisfaction with the local service.
An 11-page patient questionnaire was distributed to consecutive consenting patients attending the MS clinic. A supplemental questionnaire was provided to those patients on regular natalizumab therapy. In total, 92 full and 22 natalizumab questionnaires were completed.
Two particular areas highlighted for improvement with regards to patient management and patient education were bone and mental health:
1. Only 26% of respondents confirmed having had a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. When asked if reduced ability in MS is an important risk factor for osteoporosis, only 44/92 patients confirmed they thought this was true.
2. In the last year, 41% and 58% of respondents have suffered from depression and anxiety, respectively. Despite this, only a third of these patients received any treatment (pharmacological or non-pharmacological) for anxiety, depression or both.
Encouragingly, 95% of those surveyed would recommend our MS service to a friend or family member.
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