A Snapshot of Your Healthcare Team When You Have MS
Part of the Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies Cheat Sheet
A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) means developing a strong relationship with your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They can work with you to manage your symptoms, slow the disease course, and cope with day-to-day challenges. The following are the important members of your healthcare team:
Neurologist (or in some situations it may be a nurse practitioner or physician assistant): Diagnoses and treats MS and other neurologic diseases.
Nurse: Provides education and support for all treatment issues.
Primary care physician: Manages non-MS health issues and preventive care.
Rehabilitation specialists: Promote independence, safety, and quality of life. For example, consider the following:
Physiatrist: A physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine.
Physical therapist: Promotes strength, mobility, and balance through exercise and training in the use of mobility aids.
Occupational therapist: Promotes function in activities of daily living via energy management, assistive technology, and environmental modifications (may also treat cognitive symptoms).
Speech/language pathologist: Diagnoses and treats problems with voice quality, speech, and swallowing (may also treat cognitive symptoms).
Vocational rehabilitation counselor: Assists with career planning and retraining.
Mental health professionals: Provide diagnosis, treatment, and support for a wide range of emotional issues, as well as education for stress management, goal-setting, and problem-solving strategies.
Psychiatrist: A physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems.
Psychotherapist (psychologist, social worker, counselor): Provides counseling, information, and support for individuals and families.
Neuropsychologist: Diagnoses and treats cognitive symptoms.
Additional medical specialists: Provide specialized expertise in medical areas that may be impacted by MS or are of particular interest to folks with MS.
Neuroophthalmologist: A physician specializing in neurologically related visual symptoms.
Urologist: A physician specializing in urinary problems and male sexual function.
*Obstetrician/gynecologist: A physician specializing in women’s reproductive care.