HBA Professionals Co-authors of Guides for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Ana Matilde Cabral and Rita Simões, a nurse and a neurologist from Hospital Beatriz Ângelo, integrate the group of professionals elaborating a series of practical guides to help patients with multiple sclerosis to know their disease better and to adapt themselves to the necessary therapeutics, thus improving their quality of life.

HBA and Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra are the hospitals where these guides will be implemented in a first stage, in group educational sessions oriented by nurses working in the area.

The project “Paths in multiple sclerosis – Observe, reflect and act in multiple sclerosis” is supported by the pharmaceutical company Novartis and already received certification by the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN). Also co-authors of these guides are nurses Berta Augusto, Isabel Ribeiro and Liliana Escada, from Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra. In the first stage of the project, there was also a participation of nutritionist Ana Raimundo and neuropsychologist Sara Cavaco (Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de S. João, Oporto).

Resorting to metaphors and analogies over the multiple sclerosis condition and its implications in the life of the patient and family/caretaker, each guide has a theme: “Management of the disease” (approaching the major symptoms, physiopathological mechanisms, types of the disease, facts, myths and social consequences), “Styles of healthy life” (nutrition, physical exercise, recommended and not recommended activities), “Management of symptoms” (advice to deal with sensitive, sexual, cognitive and motor symptoms) and “Treatment and therapy adherence” (forms of administration and posology of the available therapeutics).

“Therapeutic education being a fundamental pillar in the empowerment of people to manage the disease, the group educational sessions enhanced with the use of these guides will allow to learn more about what people think of their disease and identify the meanings, beliefs and myths hindering the adaptive process”, explains Ana Matilde Cabral.

“The guides can be used differently and their application should respond to the needs and resources of each service. Each health professional will decide when, which and how many sessions to plan with these tools”, she adds.