I live on the northside of Dublin so I go to work early. Currently, my husband is working from home, so he is watching our two children, Richard (13) and Charlotte (11).
Pre-Covid, we ran a weekly nurse-led clinic where we met with MS patients (newly diagnosed and existing) to provide education and support around diagnosis or to carry out and request pre-treatment procedures, for example, MRI scans and bloods. The clinic was suspended with the arrival of Covid-19. However, we aim to re-introduce it in August 2020 with a virtual option. Currently, we are running an overflow infusion clinic for patients on Tysabri, a medication for highly active relapsing-remitting MS that does not suppress the immune system and has been considered relatively safe to continue during the pandemic.
MS nurses attend two weekly consultant-led MS clinics. These switched to telephone contact rather than face-to-face during the pandemic, but we’ve started to see new patients since June and a limited number of return patients since July. Stable patients continue to be contacted via telephone and a comprehensive assessment completed. If any adjustments to care are required in terms of initiating/switching treatment the team refers them to us and we will ensure the necessary screening procedures are conducted.
We have an email service for patients that is monitored Monday to Friday, so there are always queries/questions to follow up on. We run a phone clinic twice a week for patients to call. SVUH is the de facto national centre for MS. About 2,000 patients attend our MS service and approximately 66% are on disease-modifying treatment that requires close monitoring.
I also work on external projects, most recently I’ve been involved in developing a new digital self-help tool with other MS specialists and Biogen. It’s called ACTMyself and focuses on the emotional wellbeing of people diagnosed with MS and it guides people through different stages of their diagnosis and disease. It includes mindfulness exercises that can be used in the management of anxiety for example.
Administration work, ward visits and ongoing development our MS nurses service keeps us busy.
When I get home, I like to cook dinner, spend time with family and enjoy walking the dog along the seafront in Clontarf.