Physio fights for quality standard on exercise for MS

A physiotherapist ensured that guidance about physical activity was included in new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) quality standards for multiple sclerosis (MS).


Wendy Hendrie

Wendy Hendrie, an MS specialist physio for Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, was part of the guideline development group for the quality standards, published on 14 January 2016.

She told Frontline: ‘I fought for a standard on physical activity because it is probably one of the most important and cost effective things that people with MS can do.

‘People with long-term neurological conditions such as MS need support to remain active in order to maximise their function. Physiotherapists are ideally placed to help them achieve this.

‘But we need to tailor advice to the personalities and lifestyles of people with MS rather than just hand out lists of exercises, which are often not done following discharge. And we need to make sure we are part of the delivery of exercise – otherwise someone else will take on that role.’

Quality statements

The NICE guidance contains six quality standard statements, and Dr Hendrie said three are of particular importance to physios.

These statements advise that adults with MS should

  • be offered support to remain physically active if they have problems with mobility or fatigue
  • have a single point of contact who coordinates access to care from a multidisciplinary team with expertise in MS
  • be offered a comprehensive review at least once a year by healthcare professionals with expertise in MS

‘The fact that the statements mention a multidisciplinary team with expertise is great, as it means physios should always be involved. And there also many areas of the annual reviews in which physiotherapists could take the lead,’ said Dr Hendrie.

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