Evaluation of a pilot relapse support service (RSS) for people with multiple sclerosis - "a tiny pot of sunshine in my pocket"
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Journal: Social Care and Neurodisability
Purpose: Multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses are unpredictable in onset, severity, type of symptoms, and duration. They can have a profound effect on a person's daily activities, employment, relationships with friends and family, and social life. Individual budgets may be a means of providing personalised, timely, and flexible support to people with MS in preparation for, and during, a relapse. This paper aims to report on a pilot scheme that aimed to help people with MS to prepare for future relapse. Design/methodology/approach: The paper provides an evaluation of a one year pilot scheme conducted in East Sussex, UK, that aimed to help people with MS to prepare for future relapse by a process of tailored relapse support planning, in combination with the provision of an individual grant of £750. Findings: An independent, mixed methods evaluation (n=12) was conducted incorporating telephone and face-to-face interviews, focus groups, and self-reported questionnaires. The evaluation indicated that the service was valued by participants and that, overall, they reported feeling more in control of managing a relapse or worsening of symptoms. Originality/value: The results will inform the development and expansion of the service, with larger scale research projects required to further establish the evidence base. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.