Frimley Park Hospital has won a prestigious award for empowering patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) to get more involved in decisions about their care.
Our innovative treatment agreements scooped the Accessible Information in Care honour at the third QuDoS in MS (Recognising Quality in the Delivery of Services in Multiple Sclerosis) awards.
The awards are supported by the Multiple Sclerosis Trust, and doctors and nurses from our multiple sclerosis team at Frimley Park attended the ceremony in Leicester on 11 November.
A treatment agreement is a one-page document outlining the benefits and risks of drugs selected to reduce relapses and slow the disease’s progression. These are known as disease modifying therapies and are chosen by the patient with the support of their MS nurse.
The agreement contains information about their chosen drug therapy, its benefits, risks and potential side effects. It also discusses the requirements for blood monitoring which is an essential part of their treatment to ensure patient safety.
Since treatment agreements were first introduced at the end of 2016, the number of patients adhering to their blood monitoring schedule has significantly improved.
Judith Wilton, specialist nurse in MS at Frimley Park, said: “The drugs used can have significant side effects and risks. As our patients are given a choice of drug therapy we wanted to ensure they are fully informed of those risks. We also wanted to better engage with them about blood monitoring, which is a significant part of their treatment.
“The agreements help patients to fully understand their treatment, empowering them to choose a therapy to suit their lifestyle. They also enable them to weigh up the risks and benefits.
“Patients have embraced this as part of their treatment. By having these agreements in place, expectations are established at the very beginning and patients are able to make informed decisions about their care.”
Judith added: “To be shortlisted for a QuDoS award was amazing, to win is very humbling.”
Frimley Park Hospital is currently treating about 750 people with multiple sclerosis, 350 of whom are using disease modifying therapies.