An Overview of Multiple Sclerosis: Diagnosis and Management Strategies

Kathleen Costello, RN, MS, CRNP, MSCN; Colleen J. Harris, RN, MN, NP, MSCN


Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. 2006;6(1) 

In This Article

Breaking the News

Once other possible diagnoses are eliminated and the clinical course and findings suggest a diagnosis of MS, the clinician is faced with the task of informing the patient and family. In the past, this task was much more traumatic for both the patient and clinician, but now the news can be tempered with optimism created by the recent advances in MS treatment and research.

An honest approach with the provision of accurate written educational materials and other reputable resources is necessary during a time when information can be obtained through Internet access with little quality assurance. In addition, the role of health maintenance activities and general wellness should be emphasized.

Acceptance of and adjustment to a diagnosis vary with the individual and can range from shock at the diagnosis of a progressive illness to relief that symptoms have been identified and are not psychiatric in origin or due to a more serious cause. Both this variability in adjustment as well as the fluctuations of the disease itself require a patient and their significant others to have knowledge of the resources that can be accessed for ongoing information needs and support.


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