Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition which affects around 100,000 people in the UK.
Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, but it can affect younger and older people too.
Once diagnosed, people live with MS for life, but treatments and specialists can help them to manage the condition and its symptoms.
Hospices offer a range of support for people with long-term conditions like MS – helping to manage symptoms, offering psychosocial support and enabling people to live independently for as long as possible.
In addition to general hospice care, St Giles offers specific support services and complementary therapy designed for people with MS.
This includes dedicated wellbeing groups for people with MS and weekly seated exercise classes, which include movement to music and cater for a range of ability levels.
“At St Giles we feel it is important to help MS patients in the local community live as well as possible with their condition, which is why we offer a number of specialist services,” explained Julie Nicholas, supportive care coordinator.
“By attending our exercise classes and support groups, many MS patients see an improvement in their function and wellbeing – plus it’s a great opportunity for them to meet others who are going through the same thing.”
Pat Mason, who attends the exercise classes, says the sessions have given her new confidence and helped ease her worries about the condition.
“I have been sharing my life with MS for the past 14 years,” said Pat. “When I first found out, I tried not to let it change my life but my condition got worse, with poor mobility and all the other little problems with MS.
“I was becoming depressed: I didn’t want to go out and meet people and I worried what they might be thinking of me. Then I discovered St Giles. The seated exercise group was so welcoming that all the fear just seemed to vanish. Now I look forward so much to going to this Friday group and have made so many friends!”