1Rola Alarieh, 2Aida Balegh, 3Arij Khan, 4Asmaa Mejally, 5Fatima Almaghrabi, 6Joelle Massouh, 7Omar Saleh, 8Ouhoud Nazmi, 9Qamar Bukhari, 10Richel Sulague, 11Sawsan Almaymani, 12Waad Alsaggaf, 13Ahmed El Boghdady
1King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 2King Abdulaziz Hospital (KAH), Al Mahiar, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 3King Fahad General Hospital (KFGH), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 4King Fahad National Guard Hospital (KFNGH), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 5Heraa Hospital, Makkah, Saudi Arabia; 6Nehme and Therese Tohme Multiple Sclerosis Center, Beirut, Lebanon; 7King Fahad Specialist Hospital (KFSH), Dammam, Saudi Arabia; 8King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 9KFGH, Madinah, Saudi Arabia; 10KFSH, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 11King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), Makkah, Saudi Arabia; 12KAMC, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 13 Merck Serono Saudi Arabia, an affiliate of Merck KGaA Merck Group, Darmstadt, Germany.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system affecting young adults. It is considered one of the major causes of disability in adults. The prevalence of MS is increasing globally. In Saudi Arabia (KSA) it is reported that the projected overall prevalence of MS is 40/100,000 for the total population and higher for Saudi nationals at 61.95/100,000 putting Saudi Arabia above the low-risk zone as per Kurtzke classification (1). With this rising prevalence, and the established significance of multidisciplinary team management, there is a growing need for specialist MS nurses. A group of specialized MS nurses formed an advisory group to support the role of the MS nurse in the management of patients with MS in KSA. This is the first advisory board meeting aiming to optimize nursing care for MS patients in KSA.
Design and Method(s):
A panel of 12 registered MS nurses representing several medical institutions across the KSA were invited to participate. The advisory board was held online on 1st of May, 2021 and was comprised of three main topics to be discussed: “Overview of the Roles of MS Nurse”, “MS specialized nurses (MSSN) Interventions, Challenge, and Opportunities”, and: A Patient-Centric Perspective” in MS care . Each session lasted for approximately two hours and a half hour. Following each section, a nominal group discussion was conducted to come up with a list of challenges and opportunities that are needed to improve the role of MS nurse in KSA.
Panel members reached a consensus on the valuable role of the MS nurse in empowering patients with information regarding the course of the disease, raising awareness on adverse events of disease-modifying drugs, and providing psychological support. It was agreed that a higher level of patient education correlates with a greater need to discuss diagnostic results, relapses, disability, and disease prognosis. They commented on shortages in the required number of trained and certified nurses. They also highlighted the need to empower the role of MS nurses within the MS multidisciplinary team by increasing the number of specialized MS nurses and empowering them with the needed education and knowledge. The advisory group voted on and ranked the possible topics of interest for nurse MS education.
MS Nurses have a vital and important role in the management of MS patient. In KSA there is a clear gap in the availability of MS nurses in general with a clear shortage of certified MS nurses. It has become essential to prepare nurses in Saudi Arabia for MS patient management using preparatory courses and seminars to support their important role in MS patient care and prepare them to get certified.