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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) care at home

 

We have been supporting people living with MS to live a fulfilled and purposeful life in the comfort of their own home for over 10 years. It can be an unsettling and worrying time for families when a loved one is diagnosed with the condition, but you do not have to face it alone. The Good Care Group’s MS care at home means you can live well with the condition, maintaining as much independence as possible with the right level of care and support.

Home is best for MS care

We know that many people with a diagnosis of MS are relatively young, so the thought of moving into an elderly care home or a specialist residential setting is hugely upsetting.

Receiving compassionate care in the safety and familiarity of your own home has far reaching benefits in improving wellbeing for a person living with MS, enabling them to continue to live life the way they choose. The personalised support we provide from a highly trained and well-matched carer is delivered on a one-to-one basis and is proven to improve quality of life and health outcomes for an individual living with MS. Our flexible approach to providing high quality MS care, with a fully managed and regulated service that families can rely on is setting the standards in live-in care for those
with MS.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is a condition that affects your brain and spinal cord. When someone is living with MS the coating that affects the nerves, called myelin is damaged. More than 130,000 people in the UK are living with MS and most people find out they have MS when they are relatively young, in their thirties, forties and fifties. However, many people find signs of MS start years earlier and symptoms can be experienced long before they get a diagnosis.

According to leading charity, the MS Society there is an estimated 7,000 people newly diagnosed every year in the UK, meaning one in 500 people in the UK are living with the condition and it affects almost three times as many women as it does men. Read more here from the NHS on
MS care.

 

MS symptoms

There are many symptoms that present in a person living with MS and vary widely from person to person, affecting any part of the body. Depending on the type of MS you have, symptoms will vary and will come and go in phases or get steadily worse over time.

The main symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty walking
  • Vision problems, such as blurred vision
  • Bladder control problems
  • Numbness and tingling in different parts of the body
  • Muscle stiffness and spasms
  • Problems with balance and co-ordination
  • Problems with thinking, learning and planning

Types of MS

There are four forms of MS that all require a flexible approach to how care is provided to someone living with the condition:

Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)

This is the most common form of MS affecting about 75%-85% of people who are diagnosed. People living with RRMS will have temporary periods where symptoms flare up, called relapse or new symptoms appear, then the symptoms disappear – this is
called remission.

Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS)

With SPMS a person’s symptoms will worsen more steadily over time, with or without relapses and remissions. Before disease-modifying therapies were available 50% of people with RRMS progressed to SPMS approximately 10 years after diagnosis.

Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS)

This type of MS is not very common occurring in only 10% of people with MS and is characterised by slowly worsening symptoms from the beginning without any relapses or remissions.

Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS)

This is a very rare form of MS occurring in 5% of people with MS. Those living with PRMS have steadily worsening symptoms from the beginning with acute relapses and no remissions, with or
without recovery.

MS live-in care

At The Good Care Group, we believe that people living with MS have the right to enjoy a high quality of life, with as much independence as possible in their own home. We know how important it is for people to retain choice and control in life, and for many the desire to remain in their own home and community is essential to their overall health
and wellbeing.

Our live-in care service for those living with MS is highly personalised focusing on a true understanding of the fluctuating and individual nature of the condition. Our expert care team truly understand the need for proactive and effective medication regimes when supporting a person living with MS. We adopt a compassionate, flexible and holistic approach to care at home recognising the varying symptoms that a person can experience, but also the impact on their emotional, social and psychological wellbeing.

What does our MS care include?

 

Specialist nurse-led care

Importantly for those living with MS, we provide nurse-led care which means our professional carers are trained to monitor and identify any changes in your health, responding appropriately and avoiding any unnecessary hospital admissions. As part of our commitment to delivering a high-quality home care service, we monitor and measure health outcomes to ensure we continually improve the care
we provide.

Managing and administering medications

Our professional carers are trained in medications management and use an electronic medications system to ensure all medications are managed proactively and effectively. They will also collect prescriptions from the pharmacy.

Ensuring safe mobility in and around the home

We have an in-house Occupational Therapist, Jackie Cooper who will provide expert guidance and advice as to what equipment can help improve safe movement and mobility around your home, whilst minimising falls. Jackie is well placed to provide guidance and recommendations on home adaptations that aim to improve the way you live your life in your home.

Companionship as and when you need it

Our carers will provide companionship whilst ensuring your privacy is respected. We ensure that a perfectly matched carer shares similar values and interests to make life interesting, stimulating and enjoyable, whilst being there for you to support your emotional and
psychological needs.

Providing discreet and sensitive personal care

This can include the task-orientated aspects of caring for someone, like bathing and getting dressed, but also those that promote self-esteem, like having your nails maintained, or your hair styled.

Planning and cooking meals

Meals will be planned and cooked according to your choice, preferences and nutritional needs, all served at a time that suits you.

Facilitating social arrangements in the home

Your carer will ensure you can invite friends over for socialisation and celebrations, providing the support you need to enjoy yourself and not worry about organising anything.

Trips and visits out of the home in your local community

Our carers know how important it is to ensure you can continue to do as much you wish and that you remain connected to your local community – whether that is a stroll round the local park or attending clubs or groups in the local area or visiting friends or those shops you
always have.

Domestic tasks

This includes cleaning of all rooms and vacuuming throughout to keep your house to the standards of cleanliness and tidiness you
always have.

Caring for your much-loved pet

Carers will happily support looking after your pet, including taking dogs for regular walks.

MS live-in care, short term care or respite care

 

Given the changing nature of MS symptoms and how they present, we provide our specialist MS care service as either 24 hour live-in care, as a short term care arrangement or as respite care.

With a full time, live-in care arrangement a professional carer will live with you in your home providing around the clock care and support, focused on improving your overall health and wellbeing and enhancing the quality of your life. There are many benefits of 24 hour care, not least that the carer will truly get to know you as a person, so not just your care needs are met, but they will be on hand to support you to live life the way you wish, with as much independence as possible.

Respite care or a short term arrangement provides an opportunity for a family carer to take a much needed break from caring for someone living with MS or for you to try live-in care for the first time to see how live-in care works and whether it is the right choice for you in
the future.

Holiday services for those living with MS

We know that those living with MS are typically younger than those living with other complex conditions, like dementia and Parkinson’s, which means there is a greater appetite to continue to live life like you always have despite the diagnosis of MS. Our holiday service enables you to go on a much-needed break, either in the UK or overseas, with the support of a professional carer who will accompany you to have the time away you wish.

Case study: Martha’s MS care at home story

 

My husband and I shared our home together for more than 50 years. He passed away in 2002, but my MS was diagnosed long before that. I have been living with it for 40 years now and have always been determined to lead my own life and to carry on teaching English, which I loved.

I retired, proudly at 65, and it has only been recently that my mobility has worsened, and I have found myself increasingly relying on my daughter Mary.

A few months ago, I fell ill with a bad chest infection. I became so poorly I was admitted to hospital, where there were complications. I had spent so long in bed in hospital, I had trouble even standing up, let alone walking without some help. My appetite was gone. I lost a lot of weight and all I wanted to do was get back home, so my daughter Mary got in touch with The Good Care Group.

One of their managers visited me at home and went through a very thorough assessment, not so much of the house, but of me! The sort of person I am, what I like to do and where I like to go. So, when they introduced me to two of their carers, Janice and Annika, we found we had a lot in common and got on well from day one.

They work on a rota – one for two weeks, then the other takes over. They have both been trained by the MS Society and have cared for people with the condition before which has been a tremendous help. They never try and take over. This is still my home and things are done my way. They just give me the support I need to make life easier and do what I need to do.

To me, they are much more than carers. They are true companions. We talk about books and plays and because my eyesight is not as good as it was, they will often read me my favourite poems. Janice came with me to buy some audiobooks, so I have got the classics on tap! Both have worked with my physiotherapist and every morning and evening we do my exercises together.

And now, three months after coming home, I can get around the house by myself using a frame – it is a big step forward in every sense. My appetite is coming back, mainly thanks to the lovely meals they make for me.

Best of all, Mary is planning a short holiday for us in Cornwall – something I would not have thought would be possible when I first came back home. I cannot wait!

“Seeing my mother come home after such a long stay in hospital and watch her go from strength to strength has been a blessing. The fact that she can now look forward to a holiday has really boosted her self-esteem.” Martha’s daughter, Mary

Why choose The Good Care Group?

There are many other compelling benefits to receiving MS care from The Good Care Group:

MS expertise

At The Good Care Group we work collaboratively with leading MS charities in the UK, including the MS Society and the MS Trust whose expertise and support enables us to deliver high standards of care to those living with MS in their own home environment.

Our professional carers are trained to support the wide ranging and varying symptoms of the condition working with our clients’ daily routines, needs, wishes and preferences.

Access to our experts

Our expert Occupational Therapist, Jackie Cooper provides our clients with the support they need to live safely and well at home, with all the equipment and any home adaptations they need to help them to live a fulling life, as independently as possible.

We work closely with and liaise with all other healthcare professionals involved in delivering care to someone living with MS, including GP’s, district nurses and physiotherapists to ensure all health needs through a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to care planning.

We have a dedicated in-house Specialist Consultant Nurse, Dr Jane Pritchard who develops, leads and supports our approach to delivering high quality care at home for those living with MS. Dr Pritchard will ensure our care teams are supported to not only effectively manage medications but are able to provide support with several complex medical inventions.

A perfectly matched care team

Our professional care teams are chosen carefully to meet both an individual’s medical and holistic needs. Similar personalities and interests help the carer and the client form closer relationships, provide more enjoyment and significantly contribute to a better way of life. We also ensure the chosen live-in care team is introduced to you and your loved one before the care service starts. In the rare situation, the match does not work out, we will happily work with you to find a care team that does.

Expertly trained care teams

Our industry leading training programme completed by our care teams has been created with leading charities and clinical experts and goes well beyond industry standards. This enables our professional carers to support a range of conditions affecting older people, including complex conditions that require more monitoring, care and support. From training, through probation, into placement and beyond our carers never stop learning new skills that ensure they can deliver the quality care our clients should expect, whilst finding new ways to further enhance the level of care they provide.

Innovating care delivery through technology

Unlike any other live-in home care provider in the UK, we have invested in creating our own market-leading technology to further enhance our service. Through the development of an online community for our clients, their families and our professional carers, we are proactive and responsive to emerging issues, whilst enabling the softer social benefits that technology brings. The secure platform is focused on ensuring our carers are equipped to effectively deliver the high-quality care our clients should expect, whilst delivering improvements in health outcomes. Our families can access important information about the care of their loved one, providing a reassuring window into the care they are receiving.

Our professional carers use a dedicated community through a Chromebook to complete daily care records, update care plans, monitor nutrition and hydration and manage medications proactively with safety features ensuring accurate administration. This allows us to effectively monitor the health outcomes of our client’s care, so we can prevent and respond to incidents and ensure the very highest quality of care is always provided. The online community also allows our professional carers to network, support each other and share best practice, whilst facilitating a connection which is so important for a remote workforce.

For families who may live some distance away from their loved one, they can access care plans, care records and a calendar of events as and when they wish, offering much-needed peace of mind. We are proud that this community offers families a transparent and immediate insight into our service. The technology also provides families with reassurance that any cash handled by our carers is being managed safely and accurately, whilst enabling them to manage practical arrangements, such as food shopping remotely. They can also connect with our other clients’ families who may well be in a similar situation as themselves, so they can share their care experiences and support
one another.

Our professional carers will utilise the technology for their clients’ socialisation and enjoyment – everything from video calls with family members so they feel connected, online shopping to
general web browsing.

Improving health outcomes

At The Good Care Group every decision is driven by delivering improved health outcomes for our clients. Through our dedicated and committed approach to providing high quality care to our clients and the use of our market-leading digital technology, we see significant improvements in our clients’ overall health and
wellbeing every year.

Unique to the live-in home care market, the technology enables us to digitally monitor health outcomes allowing us to effectively predict risk and shape the care we provide. We know, for example that urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are one of the leading causes of hospital admissions for our clients, so we equip our carers with handheld testing kits to proactively monitor our clients for infections. We then benchmark our data to demonstrate how effective our care is in improving the quality of our client’s lives in the context of other types of care provision, for example care homes.

Our health measures are focused on achieving the following:

  • Promoting wellbeing, independence and enjoyment
  • Reducing behaviours that challenge through implementation of psychosocial techniques
  • Reducing and eliminating antipsychotic drug use
  • Promoting excellence in nutrition and hydration
  • Reducing and preventing falls in the home
  • Reducing hospital admissions and re-admission
  • Reducing UTI’s and chest infections
  • Reducing carer stress

We are proud to be transforming health outcomes for those who require care at home. In 2019 our care teams achieved the following outcomes for those they cared for:

Unrivalled falls prevention programmes

In England alone, 30% of people over the age of 65 fall at least once a year and for those 80 and over it is 50%. By comparison, only 7% of our clients aged 65 and over fell at least once, and that was only 6% for those aged 80 or over.

Our clients are seven times less likely to suffer a serious injury as a result of a fall than residents living in a residential care home. This is a result of our quality one-to-one care, which just cannot be achieved in even the very best care home, and our effective personalised falls management programmes.

Working with our in-house Occupational Therapist, we identify clients who are ‘frequent fallers’ and through an intensive and personalised approach to falls management these clients experienced 47% fewer falls from being in our care.

Reducing urinary tract infections (UTI’s)

Through enhanced training and the use of our market-leading digital technology, our professional carers can perform urinalysis tests. This means they can provide accurate and timely information to GP’s, enabling a quick diagnosis and treatment. 82% of our clients were diagnosed in 2019 using urinalysis kits, and through the introduction of testing we were able to reduce emergency interventions involving a 999 call or ambulance call out by a staggering 63%. We have also achieved a 22% reduction in overall UTI related hospital admissions.

A specialist pathway for palliative care at home

For those with a life-limiting illness or a terminal condition, most of us given the choice would wish to end our days in the comfort of our own home. However, the percentage of people in the general population who can do that is as low as 16%. By comparison, our approach to one-to-one palliative care at home has enabled 77% of our clients to pass away in the place they love most – their own home.

Effective pressure sore management

Our high-quality home care provided by dedicated and professional carers has seen a staggering reduction in pressure sores in those we care for when compared to both hospital and care home settings. Our clients are nine times less likely to acquire a pressure sore than they are in a care home and three times less likely than in hospital.

Proactive monitoring of chest infections

Our partnership with an award-winning technology provider, Feebris has seen us reduce hospital admissions for those with respiratory problems by 28%. Our carers use handheld medical devices to detect early signs of illness, such as chest infections enabling timely intervention to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

Efficient management of medications

Our digital technology is used proactively to effectively support safe administration of medications, which has seen error rates of 3% compared to a 22% error rate in care home settings.

Reducing the use of antipsychotic mediation for those living with dementia

The use of antipsychotic medication to treat dementia symptoms has been increasingly challenged over the last ten years, as they have been shown to be harmful for people living with dementia and are at times prescribed unnecessarily. Through our approach to professional and specialist one-to-one care for those living with dementia, our clients are four times less likely to be prescribed antipsychotic medication than residents of care homes.

Peace of mind and reassurance

Rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The Good Care Group is the only live-in care provider in the UK to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating by CQC across all five categories – safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. We know this provides families with peace of mind that their loved one is receiving the best possible care.

A fully managed and regulated MS care service

We provide a fully managed and regulated MS care service which offers families reassurance at a time they need it most. Unlike introduction agencies who are not regulated by CQC, all our professional carers are directly employed and managed by us. We ensure they are supervised by an experienced manager and supported by clinical experts – 24 hour a day, 7 days a week.

Local teams with national coverage

We operate nationwide with a local approach to management of our teams near you. Each dedicated care manager has as small portfolio of clients to support, enabling the care team to provide a tailored one-to-one approach with unrivalled levels of monitoring and support.

What is included in our service?

Our highly personalised MS care service includes:

  • Full assessment before care starts
  • Bespoke and flexible care plan developed with input from the family and other healthcare professionals
  • Matching of the most suitable care team to meet the holistic needs of our clients
  • Dedicated care team led by an expert regional care manager
  • Meal planning and household tasks
  • Social activities and lifestyle enhancement
  • Specialist support and expertise - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Access to clinical expertise and medical support

Costs of our MS care

The cost of care for people living with MS and other advanced neurological conditions will be typically higher as it is a specialist care at home service.

It is worth considering however that live-in care is often cheaper than the total cost of domiciliary care for people living with MS. When a person is receiving hourly care, provided by a domiciliary care provider it is likely that you will be charged extras for additional services to support the person’s MS needs on top of the cost of a carer visiting. These extras add up and can become costly over time. The total cost to provide hourly care to someone living with high or complex needs can sometimes exceed the price of an inclusive live-in care service.

MS care at home is typically in line with – and sometimes less than – what you would pay for residential care, with the added benefit of receiving one-to-one tailored care, something that cannot be achieved in a care home.

Useful resources

We are committed to supporting families through their MS journey with information that helps inform their decisions when planning long term care. There are a number of leading charities in the UK supporting those living with MS and their families, including the MS Society, the MS Trust and MS-UK. The MS Trust has a comprehensive range of useful guides and publications covering a number of different topics that you can download free of charge from their website.

Talk to us about your MS care needs

Our friendly and experienced team is here to help you and your family make sense of the options available to you. Call us today – we will help you every step of the way.