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Mult Scler. 2010 May;16(5):627-36. doi: 10.1177/1352458510364632. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

Palliative care for people severely affected by multiple sclerosis: evaluation of a novel palliative care service.

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Palliative Care Team, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK.


Multiple sclerosis results in both physical and psychological disability but some patients have needs that are not adequately met by existing services. Our objective was to explore whether a new palliative care service improved outcomes for people severely affected by multiple sclerosis. A delayed intervention randomized controlled trial was undertaken with multiple sclerosis patients deemed by staff to have palliative care needs. The intervention was a multiprofessional palliative care team assessment and follow-up. The intervention group was offered the team immediately (fast track, FI); the control group continued best standard care and then offered the team after 3 months (standard intervention, SI). The main outcome measures were: patient reported issues using the Palliative Care Outcome Scale and Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale at 12 weeks and caregiver burden using the Zarit Burden Inventory. Sixty-nine people were referred to the service; 52 consented or were eligible to be randomized (26 to the FI and 26 to the SI groups). At 12 weeks people in the FI group had an improvement (mean change -1.0) in the total score of 5 key symptoms whereas there was deterioration in the SI group (mean change 1.1, F = 4.75, p = 0.035). There was no difference in the change in general Palliative Care Outcome Scale or Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale scores. There was an improvement in caregiver burden in the FI group and a deterioration in the SI group (F = 7.60, p = 0.013). Involvement with the palliative care service appeared to positively affect some key symptoms and reduced informal caregiver burden.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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