Opening locked doors: Integrating a palliative care approach into the management of patients with severe multiple sclerosis

Mult Scler. 2016 Jan;22(1):13-8. doi: 10.1177/1352458515608262. Epub 2015 Oct 7.


Patients severely affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) have a large range of unmet needs. Although initially counterintuitive, specialized palliative care (PC) may be beneficial for these patients and their relatives. PC has advanced greatly in recent years, yet it is still predominantly tumour patients who profit from this. For MS, a first randomized phase II trial has already demonstrated significant benefits for patients and their caregivers when PC was included in their care. However, there are barriers: neurologists not convinced about PC, or PC not taking on MS patients. Studies have shown that misunderstandings and a lack of information among healthcare professionals about the roles and services of PC for MS are still prevalent. This topical review will give an overview of the unmet needs of patients as well as the possible benefits and barriers of PC for MS, and will describe models of services on how to "open locked doors".

Keywords: Palliative care; multiple sclerosis; severely affected; unmet needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Palliative Care / methods*