MS Ireland Our Services, Your Support
MS is always present and always different.
The chances are that you know someone with Multiple Sclerosis . Yet you probably don’t know that no two People with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS) have the same combination of symptoms. This makes MS a uniquely difficult condition to address. Similarly, you might be unaware that MS is the most common disabling neurological condition amongst young people, it can strike at any age.
Over the last couple of years, COVID-19 has added to these challenges. This is because most of the therapies used to treat MS work by suppressing the immune system, making PwMS more susceptible to complications if they contract COVID-19. Despite this, the MS Community has risen magnificently to overcome the difficulties caused by COVID-19.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we are refocusing our efforts to support and serve all those who live with MS. In doing so we are building on some of the new services and methods we implemented in response to the pandemic while strengthening some of our more ‘traditional’ offerings.
Our plan for 2022 is both innovative and inspiring. It has the potential to bring comfort to so many PwMS, along with their families. In doing so--to it draws on the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers and specialists across the country. Please read on to find out how you can play your part in fulfilling MS Ireland’s detailed programme for the coming months.
“I logged onto the MS society website and Facebook page. The information and personal blogs made me feel less isolated and gave me a greater understanding of what I was dealing with.”
Orna was Diagnosed with MS in 2021.
Innovative, effective and wide-ranging assistance for PwMS
MS Ireland is the only national voluntary organisation dedicated to providing information, advocacy and vital services to the MS community. We deliver this through a variety of new and established channels:
MS Ireland Care Centre: A dedicated respite centre for people with MS and a restful ‘home away from home’ where residents can discover and explore ways to self-manage their condition with the help of therapeutic services, neurological assessments and social activities.
Regional services: A range of services and activities at a local level to people with MS, their families, health professionals and others interested in or concerned about MS.
Your contributions make it possible for us to bring hope and comfort to so many people
Online services: We provide a range of services where you can take part in live classes from yoga, physio, mindfulness and more and have a catalogue of useful resources and practical tips on how you can look after yourself during the pandemic. You can check what classes are available to you now by visiting the regional services section of this page and browse our online calendar.
Webinars and videos: A series of webinars and videos from leading speakers in the fields of Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology, Physiotherapy and exercise along with many others.
Physiotherapy: While there is no cure for MS, one of the most effective services MS Ireland provides is regular Physiotherapy that are effective in improving both physical and psychological symptoms of MS. These exercise-based programmes improve fitness, flexibility, strength and help to optimise balance and walking ability. Additionally, our programmes enable peopleto be physically active, an essential element of lifestyle management of MS. Our programmes are run both online and in person, benefiting over 2500 participants in 2020 and 2021.
Support during the pandemic and its aftermath
For many PwMS, the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic made things worse. MS symptoms were experienced more strongly because the energy to deal with them and get on with life drained away. Stress also added to the overwhelming fatigue that is a typical MS symptom. Then of course there were the cancelled clinic appointments,
delays in accessing treatments and the redeployment of many health care professionals. This often led to secondary complications.
To address this deficit in neurological services, MS Ireland innovated new telehealth models, often providing the only outlet for people living with MS. But we need your help to maintain this service, and to keep the MS community
updated and informed through the information and advocacy programme. Your help will also enable our Information Officer to expand the MS Ireland website and stay in touch with the community through weekly emails, young person’s events and monthly webinars.
The human touch: Expanding the Information Line
Another of our core support services is an Information line (0818 233 233). Sometimes people simply need to hear a human voice and our Information Line provides one-to-one guidance, information and assurance to the people and families affected by MS. That’s why one of our fundraising objectives for 2022 is to extend the hours of this confidential service so that our clients receive reliable, accurate and personalised information and support in a world where the digital experience can sometimes prove isolating. This Information line also allows people with MS to be referred to regional staff and other appropriate local services and/or agencies.
“In recent years, before COVID, I attended quite
a few newly diagnosed days as a speaker to share my journey, and during Covid I attended online yoga and a meet up chat.”
Sharon, diagnosed with MS in 2009.
Making a real difference to real lives
Nothing is more pleasing than knowing that your contributions make a direct and tangible difference, and that is something you can sure of when you donate to MS Ireland. Orna, who was diagnosed just last year, confirms this:
“I saw an add for the Move Smart programme and signed up. It’s one of the best things I could have done. It’s a 10-week course that links you online to a physiotherapist. This has been invaluable in improving my outlook and quality of life. Susan Coote was our physio and she was fabulous. I felt physically stronger and getting to know the other women that were part of the group was great. We stay in touch and support each other whenever we need it. Over the summer I also plan on taking part in MS Ireland’s yoga classes.”
Others, such as Paschal, have been accessing MS Ireland’s support for much longer. “I was shocked to get an MS diagnosis in 2005. I found out about the Move Smart
programme through the MS society. Because of Covid it was delivered online. I found this excellent and I engaged with others from all around the country. We shared stories, hints and tips and learned from each other. Most importantly for me we had a laugh. Since I completed the course my walking has improved considerably.”
Reassurance and local support
Sharon, who lives in Dublin, was diagnosed in 2009. “I called the MS Ireland Information Line after my diagnosis. The lady on the phone was so reassuring and understood what
I was feeling. She put me in touch with my local regional officer who came to visit. He organised counselling and I have attended a number of helpful and informative newly diagnosed days and information days over the years. They also gave me the opportunity to meet with other people living with MS, listen to their stories and hear their experiences.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a large drop in our funding and forced us to find new ways of providing virtual support. Yet, as you’ve discovered, it has made us more
determined than ever in our dedication and commitment to our MS community. Indeed, we have never been so full of the new ideas that will enable us to interact with people and help them manage their symptoms. But we can only maintain this momentum and achieve our objectives with the help of your generosity, so please do what you can to support us.
Support MS Ireland today
It is your support that does so much to help Orna, Paschal, Sharon and thousands of people living with MS in Ireland.