Health and Social Care
Wellbeing Hub for people living with MS
January 24, 2022 by Morna Simpkins - Chief Executive, MS Society Scotland No Comments | Category neurological conditions, Uncategorized
Nearly 16,000 people in Scotland have multiple sclerosis (MS) and a large proportion of them, as with many people living with neurological conditions, have had to be particularly stringent in socially isolating themselves due to a higher risk of covid-19. This has exacerbated pre-existing challenges; anxiety, stress and depression, combined with postponed or cancelled health care appointments and a changing landscape for accessing reliable information.
Our 27 MS Groups from Shetland to the Scottish Borders, comprising 250 people with MS or affected by MS regularly volunteering to support their peers with information, support and opportunities to exercise, have struggled to offer peer support and local services through this critical time.
At the height of the pandemic in 2020, we co-designed a ‘Wellbeing Hub’ to address our community’s needs and to address service gaps, particularly in our community-led services.
The Hub’s core design is person-centred, works in partnership with MS professionals, and its online delivery (via Zoom, Teams and phone) enables us to engage a much wider audience, including those with poor mobility, family and/ or work commitments – who had not previously engaged in our traditional services.
Following an initial triage phone call with the Hub team to outline options available, assist with navigation and online booking, people with MS are able to choose from a suite of activities to help them to self-manage their condition. Online sessions are designed to improve physical wellbeing (via e.g. physiotherapy, pilates, balance, circulation boosting, Tai Chi, Yoga) and emotional wellbeing (via e.g. counselling, meditation, mindfulness) and offer peer social groups include a range of fun, craft and creative sessions. Delivery partners are a mix of academics, self-employed sports and wellbeing practitioners; including counselling professionals, a Neuro-physiotherapist and physiotherapists.
Our Hub builds on incremental innovation, adapting and improving as we gather ongoing feedback from participant surveys and community members. To date, around 1,100 livestream sessions have been delivered to around 750 unique participants, many of whom access more than one activity, either one to one, group or via webinar, within just a few days after referral.
To sustain the Hub’s services in the long-term, we aim to co-develop broader health and care sector statutory partnerships, a suite of self-management tools and to incorporate this model into our core services and support strategy. We are currently also preparing a blended face to face and online delivery model, so that we can incorporate traditional community services with our new digital approach, once social distancing measures ease.
This project is funded through the Neurological Care and Support – a National Framework for Action. The framework sets out a vision for driving improvement in the care and support for those with neurological conditions in Scotland. A list of projects being funded through the framework can be found on the Scottish Government website.
If you would like further information about the framework, or for details of any of funded projects, please contact Clinical_Priorities@gov.scot