Continuity, Standardization of Effective Wellness Approaches for Multiple Sclerosis: Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR

The senior director of patient management, care, and rehabilitation at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society provided insight on the variability in wellness recommendations to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 6 minutes

"There are so many symptoms that people with MS have that I think can be addressed by different wellness approaches. It’s hard to get the message out to people about what to do because there’s no regulatory body on how to make sure the standards are the same everywhere. That’s something that we, as a society, are trying to grapple with more."

Although the influx of disease-modifying therapies has taken center stage in the multiple sclerosis (MS) world, there have been notable advancements made on the nonpharmacological front as well, mainly through the introduction of integrative wellness approaches. This all-purpose intervention method encompasses aspects of diet, sleep, and ongoing preventive care, among others. Although there are not set guidelines on how to conduct this care, there are several overlapping themes and ideas.

Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR, senior director of patient management, care, and rehabilitation research, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), has been at the forefront of researching and advocating for this new style of care. While she has seen the first-hand benefits of wellness approaches, Zackowski claims that the lack of oversight from a regulatory body prevents the standardization of these tactics, thus causing more confusion for patients who may be eager to implemented them.

In an interview with NeurologyLive®, Zackowski detailed the effects being done at the NMSS to establish and validate commonly used, effective integrative wellness approaches. She discussed the physical, nutrition, and psychosocial wellness domains the research group has focused on, and how they may be implemented in a future clinic setting.