Dr. Rosalind Kalb, vice president of the Professional Resource Center at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in New York City, recently presented her work at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) June 1-4 in National Harbor, Maryland. She participated in several symposiums, primarily “Gaining Perspectives on Advanced MS: Improving Outcomes and End of Life Care;” “Managing Mood Changes and Suicide Risk in MS: Using the Science to Inform Diagnosis and Treatment;” and “Men with MS, A Multidisciplinary Approach.”
At the National MS Society, Kalb’s work is based on developing and providing educational materials and consultation services for healthcare professionals. She has authored and edited a number of publications about multiple sclerosis (MS).
“We in the MS world need to make sure that we are giving adequate attention to the complex array of symptoms [in MS patients],” Kalb said. “And as a clinical psychologist, of course I am concerned that more than half of the people with MS experience changes in their cognitive abilities, and that at least half of the people experience significant changes in their mood; and both of those can affect their quality of life and their ability to function in the world and engage in the activities that are important to them. So I just want to make sure that we are giving our attention to all those important aspects in MS care.”
When asked about the main concerns of patient, Kalb said, “I think multiple sclerosis is a very complex, unpredictable disease that can affect virtually every area of physical well-being, wellness, and daily life. And it doesn’t just affect the person who has the disease — it affects the whole family. Everybody is living with this.”
Kalb made the analogy between MS and an “uninvited guest that shows up at your home, makes a mess and doesn’t leave — but that means that the entire family is having to form some kind of a relationship with this uninvited guest.”
She said each family has “different coping strategies, different ways of dealing with stress … One of the biggest challenges is to make sure that in our care and treatment of people with MS, we are including all the family system, to make sure that they are learning how to live as effectively as possible with a disease that is so life-changing.”