MS Australia has published a landmark report on the critical role of MS Specialist Nurses (MSSNs) in Australia.

The report – the first of its kind – is based on the findings of a major investigation conducted by the society into the role and value of MSSNs in the country. The findings will inform MS Australia’s ongoing work and further cement the invaluable role of MSSNs, whose work is crucial in order to ensure that people living with MS receive integrated care and support.

Advocacy campaign

A key objective of the report was to build an evidence-based business case to support a successful advocacy campaign for sustainable and increased funding for MSSNs in Australia.

To build this business case, the society needed to identify the current number and location of MS Nurses in order to build an optimal model of care.

Feedback provided as part of the investigation showed that funding sources for MSSNs in Australia had ‘dried up’ due to various external changes, resulting in gaps in service provision and access to MSSNs and more broadly, a critical skills drain.

Critical role

Significantly, MSSNs were identified as the healthcare professional that people affected by MS most wanted to talk to about symptom management and care options. MSSNs were found to play a key role in informing and advising patients, family and carers, both at the point of diagnosis and throughout every stage of the disease.

The report originated from a workshop in 2015, during which 40 people talked about their needs as someone living with MS and highlighted the MS Nurse as one of the most important.

Deidre Mackechnie, CEO, MS Australia says, “Employing specialist nurses to manage the requirements of patients living with chronic conditions makes economic sense. There is a strong foundation of international and Australian research to support this and it is no less true for MSSNs.”

“The support provided by MSSNs makes a real difference to the lives of people living with MS”, she adds.

With this report, Australia now has important baseline information about the demand for MSSNs, their role and the current workforce, and the level of access that people affected by MS have to MSSNs.

Click here to download the report.