Discussing adaptations to the comprehensive care model in multiple sclerosis, the founder of MS Bites commented on the need to consistently incorporate dietitians. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]
WATCH TIME: 6 minutes
“Currently, at most rehab facilities, there may very well be a dietitian, either on staff or attached to that, but who is only utilized in neurological conditions like stroke, ALS [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis], or Parkinson's—meaning the dietitian is there, and he or she would just need to be informed or educated as to the needs of somebody with MS and how to navigate that.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic facilitated positive changes to health care in the form of telehealth and remote accessibility for patients, a need persists for the care of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), particularly as it pertains to diet. Dietitians are not consistently included in the care model and face an additional obstacle in that they need to be informed about the needs of patients with MS, and continuing education hours are both expensive and difficult to obtain.
Mona Bostick, RDN, LDN, MSCS, sat down with NeurologyLive® to discuss these barriers, noting a specific interaction at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers in Orlando, Florida, where she met a dietitian from Ohio who had recently been hired to exclusively meet the needs and work with patients who have MS. Explaining that this gives her hope that other facilities may follow suit, Bostick further discussed the lack of MS education and training provided to dietitians and the resultant need to provide information to increase comfort levels in serving patients with MS.
Also discussed was the vulnerability of the MS population, which can be exacerbated by the absence of dietitians on the care team. According to Bostick, patients may opt for alternative practitioners who promise to “heal, beat, reverse, or give control back,” as they are missing the nuance and context around what food can and cannot do for them.
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