Many people with MS have to go to hospital for emergency treatment for preventable conditions, according to a new report published today by the MS Trust and NHiS.
Measuring the Burden of Hospitalisation in Multiple Sclerosis shows that nearly 15,000 people with MS in England were admitted to hospital as an emergency in 2013/14. That’s around 17% of everyone with MS in England. Of the 23,700 emergency admissions, 8700 were repeat admissions – where the person with MS was admitted for a second or even third or more time in the same year.
The most common reasons for emergency admissions were bladder and bowel issues, respiratory infections and MS itself (including MS relapse). Many of these problems could be prevented with greater emphasis on preventative care: by identifying patients at risk and addressing the issues before onset of a crisis. MS nurse specialists are ideally placed to identify this group of patients and provide proactive care, along with GPs, neurologists, AHPs and community services.
Amy Bowen, Director of Service Development at the Multiple Sclerosis Trust, said: “Our report shows that if more emphasis was placed on anticipatory care for MS patients, many of these hospital admissions could be prevented. This would reduce NHS costs and vastly improve quality of life for people with MS. MS nurse specialists are ideally placed to identify at-risk patients and to address issues before the onset of a crisis, with help from GPs, neurologists, allied health professionals and community services. We need to ensure that the NHS is channeling this expertise into providing more proactive care for MS patients.”
The MS Trust GEMSS project indicates that many MS specialist nurses have unsustainable caseloads. The MS Trust is calling on the NHS to ensure that everyone with MS has access to an MS nurse with a manageable caseload. These nurses can then help to identify potential problems and coordinate care which to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. Savings on emergency admissions – which the MS Trust estimates at£77,400 per specialist nurse, per year – could justify service investment in proactive care.
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