Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience recognized by national MS Society

Hackensack Meridian Health’s Neuroscience Institute is proud to announce the recertification of its Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Related Diseases at Hackensack University Medical Center as a Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Partners in MS Care program. The renewal of the national certification also recognizes HUMC neurologists who practice out of JFK University Medical Center, making similar services available in Edison.

The Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s Center for Multiple Sclerosis is also nationally recognized by the National MS Society as a Comprehensive MS Center, renewing its certification earlier this year.

While the search for a cure for MS continues, effective strategies can help modify or slow the disease’s progression, treat relapses (also called attacks or exacerbations), improve symptoms and function, and address emotional health.

“As a Comprehensive MS Center, the Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute isn’t just treating one aspect of a person’s MS diagnosis, but working collaboratively across disciplines to treat the whole patient,” Dr. Florian Thomas, chair of Neuroscience Institute & Department of Neurology at Hackensack University Medical Center and founding chair and professor of neurology and associate dean for faculty advancement at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, said. “MS impacts many aspects of a patient’s life. By working with colleagues across our network, our MS Centers offer convenient and complete care for all aspects of our patient’s MS diagnosis.”

An accurate diagnosis of MS is the first step and clinicians at centers across the network are skilled in ruling out conditions that mimic MS and confirming the disease. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, symptom management is important, by offering care for symptoms such as bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction, botox injections and intrathecal baclofen therapy pump for spasticity, rehabilitative assessments and care for physical or cognitive impairment, headache management, infusion therapy, pain management, specialty sleep services, speech therapy, swallow therapy and vision services.

“The Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Related Diseases at Hackensack University Medical Center has been treating patients with this collaborative model for seven years. This recertification further recognizes the success of this model,” Dr. Krupa Pandey, associate professor of neurology at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, and director of the MS Center at Hackensack University Medical Center and Clinical Research for Neurosciences at Hackensack University Medical Center, said. “MS is a complex disease, and symptoms are not the same patient to patient. Since the inception of the center, we have continued to expand the research division and addition of clinicians such as psychologists trained in adjustment to the diagnosis, neuro-ophthalmologists to recognize the impact of MS on the eyes and neuro-rehabilitative care to improve or maintain day-to-day functioning.”

In January, the MS Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center was certified as a Center for Comprehensive MS Care through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Partners in MS Care program.

“I’m so incredibly proud of our center’s team and the care we provide our patients,” Dr. David Duncan, program director of the MS Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, said. “In three short years, we have expanded into a dynamic comprehensive multiple sclerosis program which focuses on all the aspects of treating and managing multiple sclerosis. Patients are extremely impressed with our centers ‘all under one roof’ design, which allows us to evaluate and treat patients in one location thanks to our ‘on site’ exam and procedure rooms, infusion center, gait lab and adjacent state of the art 3T MRI. We are also in the final stages of plans of adding neuro-urology for quick assessment of any MS-related bladder complaints as well as cognitive testing all within the center. We work to make the whole process easy for patients by providing assistance with appointments and scheduling to help patients accomplish multiple consultations in one visit.”

Both centers provide patients access to the latest in emerging therapies available through our numerous clinical trials and research.

The MS Society said the model of comprehensive MS care best treats the patient as whole. It involves the expertise of many different health care professionals — each contributing in a unique way to the management of the disease and the symptoms it can cause. Coordinating the efforts of health professionals trained to treat MS from various disciplines provides patients with neurological and nursing care, individual and family counseling and education, physical, occupational and speech therapies, and social services. An interdisciplinary approach to MS care facilitates coordination of services and continuity of care, while avoiding duplication and fragmentation for the patient and family.

This formal recognition honors the centers’ ongoing commitment to high-quality MS care. The Comprehensive MS Care Center distinction is appointed by a national committee, and the organization must demonstrate coordinated, multidisciplinary care for MS. To receive this recognition, Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute specialists have continually demonstrated a wealth of knowledge, experience and the important attention to detail necessary in treating people living with MS.

“I am proud that the MS Society recognized the significant benefit our Neuroscience Institute’s comprehensive strategy has for patients,” Maria Coello, vice president of care transformation services including neurosciences, Hackensack Meridian Health, said. “It is further recognition of our doctors, team members and staff’s commitment to allowing MS patients to live full and complete lives, by caring for the whole person, not just the neurological symptoms of the disease.”