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Other Sources of Support


Neurologists
Most people will see a neurologist, either hospital-based or in private practice, to confirm their diagnosis. Normally, they would order an MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging) to confirm their diagnosis. An appointment can be made through your general practitioner (GP).
If you’ve only seen one doctor, it’s certainly reasonable to get a second opinion if you’re not happy about the diagnosis. Your original doctor should not be insulted or hurt because you want to confirm your diagnosis.

Your General Practitioner
Your general practitioner (GP) is your main health care provider, so do your best to locate a GP with an interest in MS. It’s important to communicate your worries and symptoms as clearly as possible so you can get appropriate assistance. Your GP will be able to refer you to a neurologist or other specialist (e.g. physiotherapist) if there are questions and concerns.
Consult your GP if you are worried about any aspect of your health at any time. You may find that she/he cannot answer some of the questions you may have about your future. MS is a highly unpredictable condition and no two people are the same. There will be times when the only honest answer your doctor can give you is “I don’t know”.

Other sources of support
The following information and referrals are available from your local GP. These are invaluable sources of help, supplies, and governmental funding should you require their services. Not only are they very important; they’re usually completely free.

Community Occupational Therapist
A Community OT knows how to minimise the difficulties a person with MS may encounter, and how to access funding from regional agencies for aids such as handrails or tools for ease of living and safety around the home. They are able to submit applications to do with mobility and make referrals for vehicle modifications and to Disability Support Link (DSL) who assess and fund personal care and housekeeping hours.

Community Driving Assessor
This person will discuss and approve vehicle adaptations should you require any. If necessary they can arrange for trials of different hand or foot controls and can assist in overcoming a host of vehicle-related difficulties.

Community Physiotherapist
Available to provide home visits to help with issues relating to changes in the body. They can advise on exercises and ways of reducing the strain on weakening muscles.
Referrals to Speech Therapists, Urology Clinics and any other support services can also be accessed through your GP.

Needs Assessment
A needs assessor is the person to see if you have complex physical needs and require personal care of home help. Needs assessors can be contacted through a health professional, an MS Field Worker or by self-referral. The MS Society, however, recommends you contact your MS Society Field Worker first.

Rehabilitation
Some areas have a rehabilitation centre. Contact your MS Society Field Worker and she will help you find what rehabilitation services are available.

Neuro-physiotherapists
Neuro-physiotherapists can help with mobility, balance and movement problems by working with you to attain your maximum physical capabilities.

WEKA
What Everybody Keeps Asking about disability information is a New Zealand web site and multimedia resource centre where people can access information for people with disabilities, their families, whanau and caregivers, health professionals and disability information providers. They cover everything from support services to equipment hire and can also be contacted via email at: weka@enable.co.nz or phone 0800 17 1981..

A Guide for Carers