HELP THEM TO UNDERSTAND THEIR MS PROGRESSION
Many patients understand that MS changes over time, but they may not have the tools to recognize the progression, or the lexicon to describe what is really happening to them.
Discuss MS progression with all of your patients—whether or not they have progressed—to help them comfortably articulate new or worsening disability with you in a timely manner.
*An online survey of 3175 patients with MS about prognosis communication experiences, attitudes, and preferences.
STAY INFORMED ABOUT YOUR PATIENTS' MS PROGRESSION
The earliest indication that patients are progressing to SPMS may be subtle. Empower your patients by developing a plan beforehand, which may include more frequent visits, to help you detect the early signs of progression together.2
Ask your patients:
How has your MS changed over the course of the last year? Have your care partners recognized any changes?
How would you describe your daily functioning?
When was your last relapse? Have you observed fewer relapses over time?
Have you noticed increasing physical and/or cognitive decline since your last relapse?
Have there been any new or subtle changes to your symptoms?
ENGAGE YOUR PATIENTS BY HAVING THEM COMPLETE THE SPMS CONVERSATION STARTERDOWNLOAD
CREATING A SHARED LANGUAGE
It's important that you and your patients are on the same page about their condition. When discussing symptoms and progression, using terms that they can relate to is critical. For example, use
MS progression to describe a gradual worsening of symptoms that occurs independent of relapses
Relapses when talking with them about what may be causing new or worsening symptoms
Disability accumulation to describe the increased disability they may encounter over time, which often impacts their balance or ability to walk
"Her perseverance and resilience in the face of MS progression inspire me."
MS=multiple sclerosis; SPMS=secondary progressive MS.
References: 1. Dennison L, Brown M, Kirby S, Galea I. Do people with multiple sclerosis want to know their prognosis? A UK nationwide study. PLoS One. 2018;13(2):e0193407. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0193407. 2. Katz Sand I, Krieger S, Farrell C, Miller AE. Diagnostic uncertainty during the transition to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2014;20(12):1654-1657.