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Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Spring 2008 > Program Notes
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Program Notes

MSAA Expands Equipment Distribution Program

Through a generous charitable contribution from the Genentech Foundation, MSAA is expanding its Equipment Distribution Program with the addition of several products to assist with safety and daily living. These include plans to create a video, along with printed materials, for the safe use of products offered through the program. An evaluation component will also be developed to assess product usage, satisfaction, and the impact on quality of life.

New lift seats Photo New lift seats like the one pictured above are among items to be included in MSAA's expanded Equipment Distribution Program.

As you may know, the MSAA Equipment Distribution Program provides clients with a wide array of durable medical products and daily-living aids at no charge, in order to increase clients' safety, mobility, and independence. Some of the more popular items include grab bars, hospital bed tables, reachers, and bed rails. Through the Genentech grant, MSAA will purchase and include the following new items: lift seats (pictured above), Super Pole™ transfer systems, large-button keyboards, magnifiers, and slip-on doorknob levers.

"These items are commonly used by individuals to regain independence, improve safety, and increase participation in daily activities, " according to MSAA Healthcare Advisory Council Member Carrie Bruce, MA, CCC-SLP, ATP. "Lift seats and transfer poles help people to sit down and stand up from beds, toilets, and chairs. This promotes movement around the home. Keyboards with large buttons and magnifiers enable people to stay connected with the world by facilitating reading, writing, and computer tasks. Lever doorknobs minimize or eliminate the difficulties that people have with opening and closing doors. All of these products make living easier and enhance a person's quality of life. It's wonderful that these products are now available through MSAA."

MSAA clients interested in obtaining these items and other products through the Equipment Distribution Program can download the application from www.mymsaa.org/programs/equipment/ or request a mailed copy by calling (800) 532-7667, extension 130.

Cooling Program

As summer temperatures begin to rise, so does the need for many with MS to cool down. As a reminder, the MSAA Cooling Program offers free cooling products such as vests, wrist bands, and accessories to help lessen heat sensitivity and allow people to spend time outdoors during the summer months.

MSAA has received a significant charitable contribution from Teva Neuroscience which will ensure that all eligible MSAA clients have the opportunity to receive cooling relief and enhance their quality of life. If you are interested in receiving cooling items and have not received products from MSAA within the past five years, please download the Cooling Equipment application from www.mymsaa.org/programs/cooling/ or request a mailed copy by calling (800) 532-7667, extension 130.

Multiple Sclerosis Information (MSi) Program

Through the MSi Program, MSAA's latest educational web video, A Closer Look at MS and Complementary and Alternative Medicine, explores the worlds of Western and Eastern medicine and includes discussions and demonstrations of acupuncture, massage therapy, and other popular alternative therapies. Sponsored by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, the two-part video features Dr. Allen Bowling, director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program at the Rocky Mountain MS Center; and Dr. Jingduan Yang, medical director of the Tao Institute of Mind and Body Medicine.

Video Screenshot Acupuncture is one of the many treatment modalities featured in MSAA's latest educational web video, "A Closer Look at MS and Complementary and Alternative Medicine".

Our next video is A Closer Look at The Value of MRIs. Sponsored by EMD Serono and Pfizer, this three-part video will feature an MS client who gives a first-hand account of her experiences in receiving a diagnostic and follow-up MRI. It also features neurologist Dr. Diego Cadavid of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, who explores the science behind MRIs and the benefits of follow-up MRIs. Additionally, Bob Rapp, MSAA's vice president of programs and evaluation, explains the easy process of receiving assistance from MSAA through the MRI Diagnostic and MRI Institute programs. At the time of this writing, MSAA is nearing completion of this new web video.

Readers who are interested in viewing the program may access it through www.mymsaa.org/programs/videos/ or request a copy from the MSAA Lending Library (please see page 48 of this issue for contact information).

— Peter Damiri

Mobility and Exercise Survey Results

More than 2500 of MSAA's clients responded to a recent survey on mobility and exercise, conducted by MSAA in conjunction with Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. The extraordinary number of people responding to this email survey – more than 25 percent of those who received it – underscores the importance of these issues to individuals affected by MS. To follow are some of the key findings of this study.

  • 95 percent of those responding identified themselves as having MS. 75 percent were female, with 65 percent being over the age of 45. 66 percent were diagnosed more than five years ago.
  • 78 percent indicated that they had some physical limitations which affected their mobility. Almost 40 percent used some type of aid for mobility; 27 percent walked with an aid, while 12 percent used a wheelchair or scooter all the time; just 1 percent of the respondents remained in bed most of the time.
  • Only 11 percent of the respondents stated that they "never" had to limit their activities that involve walking due to mobility problems.
  • The vast number (86 percent) of those responding felt at least somewhat knowledgeable about mobility issues and their MS.
  • The majority rely on their physician for information about mobility issues and concerns, while almost 20 percent rely on "no one" for answers to their questions.
  • 60 percent of the respondents exercise at least weekly, with 18 percent doing so daily. 38 percent either never exercise or do so only occasionally.
  • Over 75 percent have had a member of their healthcare team discuss the benefits of exercise and 55 percent have been referred to physical therapy as part of their MS treatment plan.

Summary

Based on the results of this survey, mobility and exercise are important issues for individuals affected by MS. A significant majority of the respondents indicated that limitations in walking affected the activities in which they were able to participate. Members of the person's healthcare team generally do discuss the benefits of exercise with the MS patient and a large portion of those responding exercise regularly. However, in both categories, there is a sizeable group (25 percent) who have not spoken with their healthcare team about exercise, while 38 percent either never or only occasionally exercise. These individuals would benefit from increased education, support, and services in this area.

MSAA would like to thank all those who participated in this survey. By listening to you, our clients, we are able to provide programs and services which "enrich the quality of life for everyone affected by MS."

— Robert Rapp

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Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 11:09