Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common disabling neurological disease of young adults. MS occurs where the immune system attacks myelin in the brain and spinal cord, therefore disrupting the conduction of messages to and from the brain. Symptoms vary greatly in both nature and severity and the disease inevitably has a life changing impact on people’s lives. MS is a long-term condition and at present there is no cure, although some of the symptoms can be helped by various drugs and long term therapeutic and care strategies.
The Bristol & Avon Multiple Sclerosis Centre (the “BRAMS Centre”) has operated from Frenchay Hospital since December 2008 and has catered for over 4 000 patient visits per year. The concept of the BRAMS Centre is unique in the UK as it provides a multi-disciplinary approach to the clinical care of patients in a single setting. In anticipation of the closure of Frenchay Hospital in May 2014, a project was set up to raise the funding necessary to ensure that the single setting facility could be maintained at the Trust’s Southmead site and also that the opportunities presented by the move to innovate and enhance the present service could be taken. The BRAMS Centre redesign is part of a broader service redesign of the Trust’s Neurology Service resulting in the Parkinson’s, Dementia and MS services all being co-located within a single clinical and research facility.
An integral part of the project is the creation of a new specialist walking corridor which will be essential in carrying out all Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) examinations. Deterioration in a patient’s EDSS score is a key indicator of Disease Modifying Therapy (DMT) failure and helps clinical staff identify patients who require escalation of DMT therapy. It is projected that the number of DMT EDSS assessments will grow by 10% in the first year.
This planned walking corridor will be an essential component of a new planned specialised MS mobility clinic. This MDT clinic will focus on patients with trouble walking and maintaining their independence with the aim of improving both walking speed and distances patients are able to mobilise.
Expected patient outcomes for this project:
MS service reconfigured around patient needs
Improved patient experience of the MS service
Reduced waiting times whilst in the MS suite through improved patient flow and processes
Greater patient satisfaction and dignity
Potential for faster identification of relapse and treatment failure
Potential to reduce relapse rates resulting in slowing the rate of disability progression
Access to multidisciplinary team within one facility
Treatment in line with national guidelines
Start date and duration: October 2014 – April 2016 - 18 months