The health research assistant at the Shepherd Center discussed the need to improve access to interventions that improve the overall happiness of individuals with multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]
WATCH TIME: 4 minutes
"If we could take a more holistic view by using assessment tools to identify what else is in the lives of people with MS, we can target based on needs. With respect to mental health, there’s counseling, but it’s very difficult to find mental health counselors for all people.”
To determine which clinical, social, and demographic variables predict satisfaction in psychosocial life areas for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a group of investigators created several models based on responses from the Successful Employment and Quality Work Life After Severe Disability survey. Led by Louis Palmer, MA, the dependent variable in the study was the Quality of Life Scale, a 7-item scale developed to assess satisfaction with functioning in psychosocial life areas for people with chronic pain and subsequently validated in people with MS.
Model 1 used age-related variables, model 2 used MS and health variables, model 3 included social and demographic variables, and model 4 encapsulated all variables. In model 4, lower satisfaction scores were predicted by the following factors: diagnosis with MS at age 40 years or older, more severe MS symptoms, lower cognitive function, being a wheelchair user, poorer physical health status, poorer mental health status, being single, and being male. Of all variables, mental health status was the strongest predictor, which Palmer believes is an area that needs more attention.
Palmer, a health research assistant at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and her colleagues concluded that the findings support interventions—especially ones that are self-manageable—that address these issues. At the 2022 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting, June 1-4, in National Harbor, Maryland, Palmer sat down to discuss her findings, along with the next steps in improving these issues. She stressed the need to improve access to these types of interventions, along with more structured controlled trials that assess and validate their capabilities.