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Nurse Advocates for Shared Decision-Making to Treat MS

June 28, 2017

Nurse Amy Perrin Ross advocated that shared decision-making between patients and their doctors and healthcare providers was considered a critical step in the process of treating multiple sclerosis (MS). The article, “Shared Decision-making in Multiple Sclerosis Management” was published in the journal, Practical Neurology. It was written by Ross, a board-certified neuroscience nurse, and the Neuroscience Program Coordinator at Loyal University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. She believes that in shared decision-making, patients should collaborate with the clinician regarding making decisions about treatment, tests, and care plans. This process includes assessing evidence-based treatment options facing with patients’ lifestyle choices and relevant environmental and other factors.

The article identifies 5 steps of shared decision-making:

  1. Engaging patients to participate
  2. Exploring and comparing treatment options
  3. Assessing patient values and preferences
  4. Reaching a decision on course of treatment
  5. Evaluating the patient’s decision

“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,” Ross said in a press release. “Shared decision-making is therefore essential to optimal treatment and quality of life for patients with MS.”

Although this approach can be time-consuming, Ross asserts that the more patients feel supported, the more empowered they will feel down the line to manage their disease and make decisions about their care throughout their life. According to Ross, the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary team is required to achieve this goal. Ross is also a member of the board of directors. Besides primary care providers, “physical therapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, and speech therapists also play a role on the care team. Providers of MS Care also rely on other healthcare partners like psychiatrists, urologists, nutritionists, and pharmacists, for the various challenges that may come along as people with MS age.”