At Barts-MS we #ThinkSocial. We hypothesise that MS is like other chronic diseases and is affected by social capital and the social determinants of disease (SDOD). In short, if you have high social capital you will have a better outcome and if you have a favourable social profile you will also do better regardless of the type of MS you have. We are now actively researching these issues and have posted about them in the past and review them in this short video.
We hypothesise that you can increase your social capital by adopting practices to maintain and develop new relationships. These reciprocal relationships help you develop resilience to cope with chronic diseases such as MS. To this end, we are pleased to be involved with Oceans of Hope; a sailing charity that will ‘change the perceptions of multiple sclerosis by showing what is possible when people with a chronic disease are empowered to conquer their individual challenges, by engaging people whose lives are touched by MS and developing networks as a foundation for life-changing behaviours’.
Saúl Reyes, our Social Capital ECTRIMS fellow, Sue Radford (MS Brain Health) and I are in Edinburgh today to support Oceans of Hope and to celebrate what they are doing for people with MS. Sailing in the open ocean may seem quite extreme, but you could launch and run your own initiatives locally.
A lot of you were quite upset by my post of a patient of mine who is socially isolated and living on a diet of tea & toast. As a medical practitioner working in the NHS as it is currently configured I am relatively powerless to change this lady’s trajectory. This is why we need social prescribing and initiatives like Oceans of Hope, which promise to change things.
I envisage a future when social prescribing will be part and parcel of the holistic MS service we provide and we will have much less social isolation and more importantly better MS outcomes and happier MSers. Or am I wrong?