QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 83 - Page 18

New research into the needs of carers of people with multiple sclerosis T HE MS SOCIETY is funding a new study into the needs of families and carers of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and the impact of MS on their lives. The study is being carried out by QMU researchers who are specialists in person- centred practice, and is exploring new ways of supporting families and carers of people with MS. They hope to improve future services and general support for families. The 9-month programme began in April 2016, with final results expected in early 2017. The work will provide evidence to directly influence the development of services by the MS Society, but will also inform and influence other agencies or organisations which provide support for MS carers. While a significant amount of research has previously been carried out into the impact of MS on families and carers, fewer studies have looked at the different ways of providing support and what works best for different people. The MS Society has therefore commissioned this study to bring together this existing evidence, along with new insights, to help families and carers of people with MS access the support they need. Morna Simpkins, Director for Scotland, MS Society said: “One of the biggest challenges is that MS is unpredictable - one day you can 18 QMYOU / Health & Rehabilitation be fine, the next you might lose your sight or be unable to move. With over 100,000 people living with MS, it’s therefore vital we continue to fund innovative research to help anyone who is affected by MS access the support they need.” Dr Cathy Bulley, is leading the research project at QMU. She said: “This project brings together experts including people who are affected by MS, representatives of the MS Society and researchers. The ultimate aim is to help to improve the lives of families and carers of people living with MS. This project is an excellent example of the relevance of QMU’s research work in that it aims to shape policy and service provision that will improve the lives of people affected by a major health condition.” Professor Brendan McCormack, Associate Director of QMU’s Centre for Person-centred Practice Research said: “We will be using a number of contemporary methods to gather evidence including face-to-face and telephone interviews, as well as Facebook and online focus groups. This means that people all over the UK will have their voices heard.” The researcher has received a grant of just under £48,000 from the MS Society to fund the work. ❒