MS Treatment: Why Shared Decision-making is Crucial | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Why Shared Decision-making Is Crucial in Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

multiple sclerosis

MAYWOOD, IL –  One of the cornerstones of multiple sclerosis treatment is shared decision-making between patients and their doctors and nurses, according to a cover article in the journal Practical Neurology.

“Patients with MS are often very interested and involved in their own disease management and therefore should be empowered to play an active role in their care,” wrote author Amy Perrin Ross, APN, MSN, CNRN, MSCN. “Shared decision-making is therefore essential to optimal treatment and quality of life for patients with MS.”

Ms. Perrin Ross, a board-certified neuroscience nurse, is neuroscience program coordinator at Loyola University Medical Center and a member of the board of directors of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.

In shared decision-making, the clinician and patient work together to make decisions and select tests, treatments and care plans. The process encompasses evidence-based treatments as well as lifestyle and environmental factors. The clinician educates the patient about the disease and makes recommendations based on risk factors, genetic factors, potential triggers and other elements.

“After reviewing and educating patients about the available options, clinicians should take time to listen to the patient and learn about their values and preferences, as these should be taken into account during consideration of optimal treatment,” Ms. Perrin Ross wrote. “The more patients are involved in shared decision-making, the more likely they will be adherent to the therapy and lifestyle recommendations we might be making for them.”

The five steps of shared decision-making are:

  • Engage patient participation
  • Explore and compare treatment options
  • Assess patient values and preferences
  • Reach a decision on treatment with the patient
  • Evaluate the patient decision

A comprehensive team approach, like the one used at Loyola Medicine, often is needed to ensure patients are well informed about effective treatments and a healthy lifestyle. The team can include a neurologist, nurse, physician assistant, primary care provider, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, podiatrist, psychiatrist, urologist, nutritionist and pharmacist. A nurse coordinator or nurse case manager can help coordinate care and guide patients through the process.

Shared decision-making can be time-consuming, especially in the beginning. But the more patients feel they are supported, “the more comfortable they are to manage their own disease and feel empowered to make decisions about their care and their lives,” Ms. Perrin Ross wrote.

The article is titled “Shared Decision-making in Multiple Sclerosis Management.”

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.