There is a real need for excellent home care for people with multiple sclerosis. As many as 400,000 Americans are suffering from multiple sclerosis according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the number is growing. There are unique challenges to caring for people with MS and their families are looking for help in dealing with these difficulties. The unpredictable nature of this debilitating disease takes a heavy toll on sufferers and their loved ones alike. Home care support is a huge help for their predicament.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease wherein the body’s immune system destroys the cover or lining of nerves. The spinal cord and brain are affected and therefore neurologic and cognitive signs and symptoms are apparent. However, the effects of MS are wide-ranging and differ from one person to another.
At its early stages, MS can manifest as tingling, numbness, weakness and blurred vision. Later, people can have slurred speech, paralysis and cognitive decline such as memory problems. Patients often complain of fatigue, muscle spasms, abnormal sensations and demonstrate speech and swallowing problems and impaired thinking. Depression and suicidal thinking are also quite common in patients with MS.
Though people with this condition can die from complications, most are expected to have a normal life expectancy with almost normal functioning if given proper treatment. However, MS is peculiar because it is characterized by remissions and exacerbation. A person who is diagnosed with MS can have little symptoms during a long period of stability that can last for years, only to relapse and end up in the hospital.
Aside from the symptoms themselves, the unpredictability of multiple sclerosis presents an additional challenge for patients and their families. They have to continually adapt and shift time and financial resources as the need arises.
How can home care help people with MS?
One of the essential components of a multiple sclerosis treatment program is home care support. When medical care at acute facilities is done, home care support is needed so that individuals can adjust again to life around familiar faces and surroundings. While many MS patients are independent and can manage on their own, there are times when extra help is needed. There are many areas where home care workers and personal care attendants can assist MS patients.
Fatigue, dizziness and blurred vision can endanger the safety of individuals with MS. Personal care workers and companions can help them navigate different areas of the home. They can guide and provide proper direction in moving around the house. Also, they make sure home modifications such as handrails and assistive devices like wheelchairs are used if needed.
PCAs can assist with personal hygiene if the patient is weak or incapacitated. Many MS patients who have just been discharged from the hospital after a relapse need assistance with medications and sometimes even tasks like catheter management. Home care workers also help them comply with their medication and exercise regimen on a daily basis.
Activities of Daily Living
Activities of daily living include bathing, dressing, eating, ambulating (walking and moving about) and other activities associated with everyday routine. Professional caregivers will give the required assistance if needed for these tasks. They make sure enough periods of rests are interspersed within the schedule so as not to tire the individual with MS who is susceptible to fatigue. PCAs can even assist with light housekeeping if necessary.
An important component of any MS treatment program, home care workers can help prepare nutritious meals. They note if the person has swallowing difficulties and take steps to prevent choking. These professionals are knowledgeable about proper nutrition and how to feed patients safely.
Aside from a balanced diet, exercise is vital for people with MS. Home care support people can encourage them to be physically active within reasonable limits to prevent fatigue. Some elements of a physician-directed rehab or physical therapy program can be facilitated at home by professional caregivers.
Many persons with MS suffer from social isolation and depression because of their situation. PCAs and companions can provide emotional support even when their family members are away. These people are trained to communicate in a therapeutic manner.
Respite from Burnout of Family Caregivers
Lastly, home care can give much needed respite from the demands of caring for a loved one with multiple sclerosis. Family caregivers need a break especially when their relative goes into a relapse and then move back home needing much demanding care. PCAs can provide this service at home, freeing you from some of the stress.
Trained personal care assistants and home health aides can provide excellent home care to people with MS. They can follow a customized and flexible program that encourages independence and daily functioning. PCAs and and home companions are adaptable to the ever-changing needs of the individual with multiple sclerosis. Find only competent and compassionate home care workers by dealing with the best home care agencies in your local area.