Strategies for Assembling Your MS Care Team
After you’re diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), your primary care physician or neurologist may or may not be willing to be your overall healthcare team manager. If not, it’s up to you to assemble the team that best suits your needs. Putting your team together can be a challenge for even the savviest of consumers, so here are some strategies to keeping in mind:
Get referrals (from your physician or the National MS Society) to professionals with experience and expertise in MS.
Keep copies of all your medical records (you can request photocopies from your doctor’s office, usually for a fee), and store your own MRI scans. No one will care about your MRI scans as much as you do, and they’ll come in handy for your neurologist to make comparisons over time (or for you to take with you if you decide to change doctors or get a second opinion).
Keep the members of your team in the loop by asking each clinician to copy the other key players on letters and reports.
Make sure that each clinician is aware of your medical history — including your MS and any other conditions you’re dealing with — and that he or she has a list of all the medications you’re taking.
If, at any point, it all starts to feel unmanageable — if, for example, you’re experiencing a lot of complications with your MS or have been unlucky enough to be diagnosed with more than one illness that requires complex care — you can contact the National MS Society for information about the care management services available in your area. Care managers are professionals who are trained to help coordinate your care and identify helpful community resources.