The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers , in Seattle, Washington. Neurology Advisor‘s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from CMSC 2019.

SEATTLE — An interprofessional integrative medicine model has demonstrated efficacy in improving communication with the clinician, lowering the number of visits, and improving the coordination of single-day multi-service and therapeutic interventions in multiple sclerosis (MS). This according to research presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, held May 28 to June 1, 2019, in Seattle, Washington.

The study included data from over 500 individuals with MS, referred to a counseling psychologist immediately after the completion of a needs assessment by an MS neurologist. These psychologists emphasized the connection between mind and body, especially among those with comorbid anxiety and depression. Sessions focused on coping skills, sleep hygiene, medication adherence, healthy adjustment to disease, eating patterns, relations with partners and/or caregivers, and communication with physicians using cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness.

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Mental health diagnosis and need determined the frequency and duration of visits. Neuropsychologists provided assistance in recognizing mental barriers to daily living skills and optimal work performance, with specific cognitive batteries tailored to each individual’s specific needs. Speech/language, occupational, and cognitive rehabilitation were assigned as needed. The individual, physician, and a cognitive rehabilitation therapist (when needed) were included in discussion of findings.

Among the individuals visiting the center since 2016, at least 20% had seen both a counseling psychologist and a neuropsychologist. Among counseling psychologist visits, 80% had discussions regarding disease adjustment, 70% regarding partner relations, and 50% regarding work issues. A total of 2 hospitalizations resulted from suicidal ideation. Assessments by neuropsychologists identified executive skills deficits in 75% of individuals, processing speed deficits in 60%, attention deficits in 40%, memory deficits in 40%, and word finding deficits in 30%.

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The study researchers concluded, “[o]ur interprofessional [integrative medicine] model appears to improve the quality of care via increased clinician communication, decreased visits, coordination of multiple services in a single day, and coordination of therapeutic interventions.”

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Amorello B, Thomas F, Pandey K, Kera E. Integrating physical and mental health in patients with multiple sclerosis: bridging the gap via a transdisciplinary and interprofessional approach. Poster presentation at: 33rd Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers; May 28-June 1, 2019; Seattle, WA. Abstract MDC07.

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor