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March 21, 2022

Trinity Health Of New England: Innovating Multiple Sclerosis Care

Mary Bailey, M.D., Regional Medical Director for Rehabilitation & Multiple Sclerosis, Trinity Health Of New England

With no definitive cure, a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis can be overwhelming for patients and their families, as they begin to navigate the complex world of neurological care. Each March, MS Awareness Month provides a time for those battling the disease to come together for support. Treatments for MS are constantly improving and evolving, and Trinity Health Of New England is leading the way in this innovative care. In a conversation with Mary Bailey, M.D., Regional Medical Director for Rehabilitation and Multiple Sclerosis, we discuss why it’s so important for patients to get a comprehensive treatment plan as early as possible.

Q:What sets Trinity Health Of New England Multiple Sclerosis Care apart?

A: Multiple Sclerosis care at Trinity Health is really like no other. At the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Centers for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research, we use a comprehensive care model in not one, but three locations: Hartford, Waterbury, and Springfield, Mass. At each of these centers we have fellowship trained neurologists to fight the disease progression, and a roster of providers to help treat the symptoms. We have to work as a team to treat the disease and prevent it from progressing, but also treat the symptoms in a multi-pronged approach to improve a patient’s quality of life. We were the first in Connecticut to be recognized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as a Partners in MS Care Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care. This is a very distinct honor for us, as it allows patients to know they’re coming to a center that is recognized and vetted. Our MS providers focus only on MS and similar neuroimmuniological disorders, and offer comprehensive, individualized treatment, rehabilitation therapy, and support services.

Q: How does the Mandell MS Center provide treatment and support?

A: Finding the right treatment goes back to being a good listener. Doctors start with a conversation and listen to a patient’s story, and we find that is when the diagnosis often reveals itself. Follow up testing with an MRI, bloodwork, and potentially a spinal tap helps to determine which highly effective MS treatment is the best for the patient. And then it is very important that we start those treatments very early. Prevention is key in MS care, and we don’t want to cause any further damage by delaying care. We tailor our treatments to each individual patient’s situation, beliefs, and needs. We do that through a comprehensive and customized approach to treatment, rehabilitation therapy, and support services. This includes staff ready to help with psychological, social, and financial needs. Our team of specialized providers focuses on slowing the progression of the disease, with the goal of helping the patient stay active and independent. Our clinicians and researchers collaborate to give access to groundbreaking research projects and the latest in MS care.

Q: Innovative research is an important part of the Mandell MS Centers. How does this research impact patients?

A: This is one of our biggest passions at the Mandell Centers. We are so proud of our relationship with Quinnipiac University here in Connecticut, and The University of Oxford in the UK. We have an exchange program and partnership with both Universities, with research fellows working on multiple research projects. Through this teamwork we conduct innovative academic studies, where our teams learn and implement the newest care models as soon as they are available. Patients have the option to participate in cutting-edge studies in the same place they receive care. And partnerships between our researchers and providers leads to early intervention and better quality of care sooner. An MS diagnosis can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that an MS diagnosis is not what it was 10, even 5 years ago. The earlier we catch it and treat it, the better the outcome can be through prevention, monitoring, and good care. Find a doctor you’re comfortable with, and we will tailor your treatment to work with your lifestyle.

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