2021 CMSC Annual Meeting

Evaluation of a 6 Week Integrative Medicine Workshop Series on Quality of Life, Self-Efficacy and Wellness in MS


Background: MS care provided in a comprehensive MS center improves outcomes. Well-established MS centers struggle to include complementary and alternative strategies due to reimbursement and funding. Group visits can increase access to movement-based therapies like yoga; music and art therapy; physical therapy; and nutrition counseling. These are often successful because people living with MS (PwMS) report significant improvements in quality of life when involved in community programming. Providers have encouraged this engagement virtually during the pandemic. Between 30-80% of PwMS seek complementary and alternative medicine therapies in MS and research in this area is growing. It is important that PwMS are directed to fellowship-trained or certified professionals who understand MS in order to receive safe and effective integrative care. We believe that integrative modalities enhance comprehensive MS care, and opportunities for these services should be increased. Objectives: Inspire My Soul (Inspire MS) was created to provide access to and evaluate the benefits of integrative modalities not usually covered by insurance and not accessed because of expense. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to evaluate the organization, management, and implementation of a virtual Integrative Medicine program designed to improve quality of life, self-efficacy, and wellness in PwMS. Methods: Inspire MS was a 6-week virtual workshop series that included: Journaling; Meditation; Nutrition; Yoga Therapeutics; Art-based instruction; Sound Healing; Music Therapy; Balance and Pelvic Floor Therapy; Brain Speed Ball; Health Coaching; Soul Therapy. Participants were chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis via advertising through neurologists; social media; and MS organization contacts. The IRB at the University of North Florida granted expedited review to this program. Participants completed the SF-36, the MS Self-Efficacy Scale, and the MS Wellness questionnaire and a program evaluation via de-identified links to Qualtrix. Permission for the use of the MS Self-Efficacy Scale and MS Wellness questionnaire was granted through DeltaQuest Foundation. Each week, the participants met via Zoom from 10:30am-2:30pm for the scheduled workshop for the week. A brief tutorial for Zoom functioning was provided. Participants were encouraged weekly to continue using modalities learned during the week. Results: We will evaluate demographics and changes in scales from Weeks 1 to 6 following the close of the program to make suggestions for future programs. Results will be available for presentation at the annual meeting of the CMSC. Conclusions: We hope that to see improvements in quality of life, wellness, and self-efficacy measures after completion of this 6-week workshop series. We will use our findings and lessons learned in developing a virtual workshop to increase awareness of the importance of these Integrative Medicine modalities in MS care.