Treating multiple sclerosis in a virtual world

As a result of an Improvement Fund grant from the ihub, Revive MS Support, a charity that provides vital therapy, advice and support to people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), improved access to specialist MS services throughout North Lanarkshire and the West of Scotland.

As MS progresses, the condition affects mobility, making travelling more difficult. Lack of mobility can be particularly challenging for those people living in rural areas who are trying to access specialist MS support services.

Revive MS Support established a project to trial remote consultations for those living with MS in the greater Glasgow area. Using Attend Anywhere, a web based platform, staff were able to provide vital therapy remotely. This meant that people with MS had the opportunity to remain supported, and, crucially independent and living at home.

“The virtual treatment room is now a fully implemented and successful service we offer to clients,” said MS Specialist Nurse, Mhairi Coutts. “We’ve expanded our reach beyond Glasgow and the West of Scotland area as we now have clients living in Dunoon and Stornoway.”

Remote access to a specialist MS nurse through a virtual clinic supports both self- management and tailored advice. This gives people using the service more of a sense of empowerment to live full and productive lives.

It’s also reassuring to retain contact with a known and trusted healthcare professional (where possible). One virtual consultation user, Evelyn, said, “Mhairi has been my MS Nurse throughout my journey and I panicked when she was no longer in that position. But, after having a video consultation [with Mhairi] on my smartphone, I realised I can retain contact. Wonderful service. Thank you so much.”

Support from the ihub’s Improvement Fund for this project has provided Revive MS Support with valuable learning that can be used in future projects which will help shape and design services for effective remote delivery on a national scale. Revive MS is working with the ALLIANCE and the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI) to ensure that the learning and outputs from the ihub-sponsored project are shared across the third sector.

Visit the Attend Anywhere resource centre for video call guidance and Revive MS for specialist MS support.

Over 11,000 people in Scotland are currently living with MS. This makes MS more common in Scotland than most other countries in the world. Source: MS Society.