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Guest blog: Meet Chloe...

Posted on: August 29 2017

img_1236.jpgToday's guest blog is from Chloe Baxter, who spent last week with MS-UK for work experience in the marketing department...

Hi everyone, my name is Chloe and last week I joined the MS-UK team to do a bit of work experience. I study Business and Globalisation at De Montfort University in Leicester, so naturally it would have made sense to take on a marketing role for the week.

Since leaving school, throughout my A levels and my first year of university, I’ve never had a job that requires me to get up any time before 12. And I was pretty lucky to have a timetable at uni with not too many early mornings. So the first struggle occurred before I even managed to lift my head off the pillow. Fortunately, as the week progressed, I would learn that this is the only struggle I would face.

The role was much more enjoyable than I would have imagined; after being somewhat put off marketing in my first year of uni. This was not down to the content nor my lecturers, but more so my terrible work group that left the majority of the work down to a couple of us. The week kicked off with terminology that I have been learning about since GCSE Business, for example, the trusty SWOT analysis. It was cool to see all of the things I’ve been learning about for so long in the real world of work (and to be reassured that indeed all of this stuff is actually used, it wasn’t all for nothing!).

For sure, I most enjoyed the creative side like designing social media posts and different documents for an upcoming campaign. Alongside writing many a blog, I felt like I was really improving upon my writing skills. Not only that, I felt like I had to write super professionally because it’s for a legitimate business (not that I don’t do that for university), which made me challenge myself and also check over things twice as well.

For the most part, I was introduced to new software that I had never heard of before. That made it interesting, and if I were to come across them for the rest of my uni career or indeed for any career in the future, I would know the general gist of it at least. Like they say – you can’t buy experience, and I’m grateful to the MS-UK team for that! Shout out to everyone I worked with – it was a super sweet week.

All of the designs you see on our social media channels this week have been designed by Chloe – follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to check them out.

A big thank you to Chloe!

Guest blog: Niamh Sarah ask Josephs Court clients what matters

Posted on: August 18 2017

niamh-and-sarah-ots-at-jc-2017.jpgIn this guest blog, Niamh and Sarah talk about what they are doing at Josephs Court, our wellness centre based in Essex…

Hi we are Niamh and Sarah, we are undertaking a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) at the University of Essex. We are half way through completing our final role emerging 8 week placement at MS-UK (Josephs Court) until the beginning of September. As this is a role emerging placement, there is currently no Occupational Therapist within this setting. Therefore, it is our ambition as OT students to promote our profession amongst the MS-UK community.

Occupational therapy provides practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.’ (Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2017)

We are thoroughly enjoying building a rapport with clients, family, carers and staff. It has reinforced for us the importance of viewing clients and individuals we meet holistically and delivering client centred care.

Both of these concepts are reflected in the core underpinnings and ethos of the OT profession. We are excited to continue to work within this inspiring team. Our aim is to design interventions that may improve the quality of life of the clients that we meet, identify clients potential and where possible collaboratively work to overcome barriers through engaging in activities of daily living and occupations.

Our role as OT students within this setting has consisted of us using transferable skills such as communication, professionalism and listening in conjunction with core OT skills and implementing these at MS-UK.

We have been tasked to identify and develop an occupational focused service development that targets clients’ needs and enables clients to improve their health and well-being.  Using our skills we have ascertained that falls is a barrier to engagement in activities of daily living.

After conducting some research within Josephs Court regarding incidences and prevalence of falls, we have ascertained that falls is a barrier for engagement in daily occupations and may be impacting people’s psychological health. As a result, we will facilitate a falls prevention information session. This will take place in Josephs Court.  Where possible we shall signpost clients and carers to alternative services, support and equipment to enhance client’s pathways of care. We will continue to make suggestions on self-management techniques.

We are encouraged to adopt the positive mind-set that is so evident from both clients and staff within this community.

‘Occupational Therapy practitioners ask, ‘what matters to you?’ not, ‘what’s the matter with you’.’ (Ginny Stoffel, AOTA President)

Find out about taking part in the exergaming project by the University of Essex...

Posted on: July 14 2016

Hello,

I’m delighted to let you know that MS-UK has been approached by the University of Essex to host a trial in the use of an Xbox game specifically designed to support people living with MS!

The trial will take place at MS-UK in Essex, for eight weeks, beginning Monday 01 August 2016. We are looking for 20 people to take part in the study.

Who can take part?
There is inclusion criteria to take part in this study. All participants must:

  • Have a definitive diagnosis of MS
  • Be ambulatory (i.e. able to walk aided or unaided)
  • Have a Patient Determined Disease Steps of 3 to 5

Patient Determined Disease Steps
3 = intermittent use of cane (or other forms of unilateral support including splint, brace, or crutch). You use unilateral support primarily for longer distances, but are able to walk at least 25 feet without it.
4 = dependent on a cane or other forms of unilateral support and cannot walk 25 feet without such support (e.g. you may hang on to furniture inside your home or touch the wall when walking in clinic). You may use a scooter for greater distances.
5 = Bilateral support: require bilateral support to walk 25 feet (e.g. two canes or two crutches or a walker). You may use a scooter for greater distances.

What will happen?
We are looking for 20 people:

  • 10 people will act as a control group. This involves completing some assessments and questionnaires and the beginning and end of the study
  • 10 people will come along to MS-UK and play the game for around 20 – 40 minutes, twice per week for eight weeks. You’ll also have to complete some assessments and questionnaires at the beginning and end of the study

It is hoped that this study will prove playing these games helps people with MS, and pave the way to funding a larger-scale trial in the future. If you can spare the time to take part and you meet all of the criteria, please get in touch today and sign up!

Thank you,

mike-sig_0.jpg

Michael Kinton

Centre Manager, Josephs Court

Guest Blog : Good Days, Bad Days: Chronic Illness at University

Posted on: July 06 2016

Today’s blog is another in our Guest Blog series, this one from Louise Toller. A Masters student at the University of Exeter and currently carrying out research for her dissertation on the experiences of students with chronic illnesses, Louise is keen to hear from people living with conditions that are unpredictable or fluctuate in severity, such as multiple sclerosis.

If you are a student with MS, and  need support our Helpline is here for you Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.


It isn’t easy being a student with a chronic illness: I know, because I am one. I became ill 

with what was later diagnosed as ME when I was an undergraduate, and it had a huge impact on my ability to study and the rest of my university experience.

I’m now a student again at Exeter and, inspired by my own personal experiences, my dissertation research is focusing on the experiences of chronically ill students.

There’s a small but growing body of research on the experiences of students with ‘traditional’ disabilities, but a distinct lack of research on students with chronic illnesses. Reading the existing academic work, I was struck by how different my own experiences have been to many findings. The fact that my health – and therefore my disability – varies so much and is so unpredictable is central to my life, but I felt like this just hasn’t been represented in the academic work on disabled students.

I wondered if perhaps it was just me, so I spent some time reading more general research on chronic illness. Phrases like ‘up and down’, ‘flux’, ‘episodes’ and ‘unreliable bodies’ kept appearing – along with the consequences of such unpredictability and fluctuations. So surely if these issues are significant for many people, I can’t be the only chronically ill student whose experiences differ to those of other disabled students?

I think we need a much better awareness and understanding of what chronically ill students experience and how universities can help to support them. I’m hoping to make a small contribution to filling this gap in the academic literature with my Masters dissertation, and I would love it if you could help me out.

I’m looking for participants for interviews (in person, via Skype, or even via email), who are willing to share their experiences of being at university with a chronic illness.

I am specifically looking for people who:
• Are current or recent UK university students, aged 18-30
• Have a chronic health condition that is unpredictable or fluctuates on a day-to-day or longer-term basis

If you might be interested in taking part, please drop me an email at lt328@exeter.ac.uk and I’ll send you some further information (you’re under no obligation to take part if you do so!) My supervisor is Dr. Hannah Farrimond, and she can be contacted at H.R.Farrimond@exeter.ac.uk.

Thank you!
Louise

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