Managing MS With Wellness Approaches During COVID-19: Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR

The senior director of patient management, care, and rehabilitation at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society discussed the importance and flexibility of wellness approaches for patients with MS during the pandemic. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

"It makes it even more important to stay on top of treatments for mental health issues. Depression is what first comes to me, but anxiety is another common problem. The idea of integrating different wellness strategies could address some of those issues. COVID-19 has just elevated the need for that kind of thing, by the fact that it’s forced us to change our lifestyles so much."

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have been faced with possible changes in the management of their disease, mainly by adapting to a more virtual style of care. For these uncompromised patients, their fears of the pandemic may be exacerbated, and social isolation may be more of a possibility. Some experts, including Kathy Zackowski, MD, OTR, believe the need for integrative wellness approaches and an increased focus on overall health have never been bigger.

Zackowski, senior director, patient management, care, and rehabilitation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, published a 2020 paper that promoted the wellness of patients through health behaviors amid the pandemic. She and her colleagues documented evidence-based physical, nutritional, and emotional wellness recommendations that are not only relevant to people with MS, but to other rehabilitation populations who are adversely affected by the decreased physical and social activity, uncertainty, economic hardship, and other lifestyle restrictions common during that time.

NeurologyLive® sat down with Zackowski to get her thoughts on effective wellness approaches adopted in the pandemic, the need to continue to reenforce the importance of overall health, and whether some practices may stick around for the long run.