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Nurses given new guidance on treating patients with motor neurone disease

Thursday 8th September 2016
The Royal College of Nursing has provided nurses with updated guidance on caring for patients with motor neurone disease. Image: FabioBalbi via iStock
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    UK nurses have been provided with updated guidance on caring for patients with motor neurone disease (MND).

    The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has published the new resource in conjunction with the Motor Neurone Disease Association to make sure that all nursing staff are aware of the most appropriate way to treat MND patients, as there are many different forms of the condition.

    Typically, MND - or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as it is more commonly known in the US - affects the motor nerves in a person's brain and spinal cord, meaning messages eventually stop being able to reach their muscles, causing them to become weak and disabling the patient. The degenerative illness can also affect speech, eating, drinking and even breathing, making it a potentially life-threatening condition.

    However, each of these symptoms will not necessarily manifest at the same time or in the same order for different patients, meaning it can be challenging for medical staff to understand how to treat each individual with MND, which is why the RCN has published new guidance on the matter.

    Amanda Cheesley, professional lead on long-term conditions and end of life care at the RCN, commented: "The huge variety of symptoms and rates of progression can be difficult to treat, but we know from the experiences of people living with MND, their families and nurses how great a difference well-informed nursing care can make.

    "People with MND and their families can experience great uncertainty and distress, this resource aims to share their experiences and those of the nurses who care for them."

    As a result, it is hoped that the new guidance resource will lead to MND patients and their loved ones receiving the best possible standard of care from the health service.

    Written by James Puckle

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