Life-changing MS programme to expand

AN innovative day care service for people with Multiple Sclerosis has today been deemed such a success that it could be rolled out across the country.The 5R's service at Sue Ryder Care's The Chantry aims to improve the lives of people with MS.

AN innovative day care service for people with Multiple Sclerosis has today been deemed such a success that it could be rolled out across the country.

The 5R's service at Sue Ryder Care's The Chantry aims to improve the lives of people with MS.

Almost 30 people have now benefited from the ten-week programme, which includes therapeutic activities like yoga and music therapy, along with educational classes such as art and computers.

Clinical specialists are available to give advice and answer questions, and a variety of speakers have come in to give talks on things like eligibility for benefits.


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The programme was designed by Jo Marshall, The Chantry's care centre manager, and Tracey Plested, community and day services manager, after Ipswich Hospital's neurology department and the local branch of the MS Society expressed a need for this type of service in east Suffolk.

It has proved so beneficial the MS Society is now working with Sue Ryder Care to replicate the model in other parts of the UK.

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Mrs Plested said: “The 5R's Service offers people living with MS flexibility and that's how it differs from traditional day care.

“It also gives people an opportunity to meet with others who understand exactly what they are going through. We know we cannot cure the condition but our aim is to enhance lives and rebuild confidence.”

At the end of the ten-week programme people are encouraged to pursue a college course, hobby or therapy they have enjoyed.

Mrs Marshall said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the MS Society on this project, and that the local branch has been so supportive and are part funding it.

“We would like to access further funding from health and or social care in order to develop this service.”

Anyone who wishes to find out more about the service should call Tracey Plested on 01473 295200.

Weblink: www.suerydercare.org

560 people in Suffolk are registered as having MS.

SALLY Laws, 49, of Holbrook, has been living with Multiple Sclerosis for about 20 years.

For her, the experience of joining the 5R's Club was so powerful and rewarding that she asked if she could complete a second block of the ten-week programme.

The former Ipswich High School teacher said: “Sometimes neurological conditions can be isolating or restrictive. The 5Rs meant I was getting out of the house and meeting other people with MS.

“To realise that the symptoms I have are shared by other people has been very encouraging. I am also much more confident in terms of speaking about MS. I don't get miserable like I did in the past.

“It has given me a whole new outlook on MS. I have tried different support groups before but nothing has worked for me in the same way as the 5Rs.”

FOR Phil Fisk, 55, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) ten years ago, the best thing about the 5Rs Club is that everyone there “speaks the same language”.

He said: “We understand each other in a way you could not if you did not have Multiple Sclerosis. We know what each other is talking about.

“We also learn more about the condition from each other. MS affects everyone differently and even within the group people have very disparate symptoms. Finding out how others deal with the condition can be very helpful.”

Phil, who has four children, Daniel, 31, Joseph, 20, Samuel, 17, and Jacob, 13, found out he was living with MS when he collapsed on a family holiday a decade ago.

He carried on with his job as a nurse as long as his condition would allow and then took a job in a charity shop.

Now Phil, who lives in Ipswich, is half-way through the 5Rs programme and he is finding trying the different therapies something of a revelation.

He said: “I have loved all of the therapies and talks. Learning techniques such as Reiki, which I have been practising at home, has made a big difference to me and my wellbeing. I have pain in my right foot and since learning foot massaging techniques, it has helped me to relax it and have greater mobility.”

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