How We Can Help
Have you been referred to the MS Clinic? Wondering what happens next? Your referral will be triaged and an appointment notification posted to you. If you can't attend the appointment please call us on 49 213540 or email to reschedule. Clinics are held Mondays to Thursdays at Northblock, John Hunter Hospital and on Fridays at Belmont District Hospital. The nearest parking at John Hunter Hospital is carpark 6 and for Belmont District Hospital is main carpark.
We have a lengthy waitlist and would be grateful to be advised if you are unable to attend or no longer require the scheduled appointment.
Plan Your Clinic Visit
You should receive a text reminder of the appointment in the days before the scheduled appointment. Bring any paperwork related to this appointment with you, e.g. a copy of the referral if you have it, pathology and / or scan results.
It's good idea to bring a family member or trusted friend along to the appointment to support you; a second set of ears. They may be able to take notes or ask questions on your behalf. Another good idea is to write down any questions you have for us to bring along to the appointment, so that we may address them at the time.
Children and babies are very welcome at the MS Clinic. Coming along to your routine appointments helps them become comfortable with the environment and can reduce worry they have about you and your MS. There's usually a staff member available during your appointment to help with little ones.
MS clinic can also utilise telehealth for follow up appointments, where your last routine appointment was face to face. To see if your next appointment can be a telehealth visit contact us here. telehealth appointments can be done from your home or with your GP. For more information about telehealth visit here.
At each appointment we will measure your weight, blood pressure, pulse, cognition and walking, so wear comfy shoes and bring your glasses (reading and long distance if you have them) and walking aids.
MS Clinic Services and Support
The MS Clinic can help with support beyond diagnosis and treatment. Appointments can include preparation of NDIS Access Requests, Disability Support Applications and Fitness to Drive Specialist Assessments.
For those travelling long distances to come to the MS Clinic, the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) can help with some of the costs associated with attending your appointment. Your specialist can help you complete an IPTAAS application.
Am I Relapsing?
In between appointments you may experience some symptoms that reflect changes to your MS. Sometimes it is difficult to know if MS is the cause of new symptoms or if there is something else going on, not associated with MS. If you are concerned or even just not sure, please call 02 49 213540 or email the MS nurse for advice. The nurse role is to triage new symptoms and help navigate the most appropriate next steps.
To confirm a new relapse the following criteria should be considered.
- The symptoms are new neurological symptoms or a significantly worsening of previous symptoms; and
- The symptoms need to last for at least 24-48 hours; and
- The symptoms need to be 30 days from the last relapse; and
- There must be no other explanation for the symptoms
It's almost always a good idea to be seen by your MS care provider when you are relapsing. We can arrange treatment for the relapse if it is indicated and refer for any assessments that are indicated, e.g. a magnetic resonance image (MRI). For more information on MS relapses read here.
Telehealth is one tool in the toolbox of clinical care. We can incorporate telehealth visits in-between face to face visits. A good internet connection is key to successful telehealth visits. For more information and the link to telehealth see here.
I have been waiting online for my telehealth visit. It's past my scheduled appointment time and I'm worried something has gone wrong.
As with face to face clinics we will unfortunately sometimes run late. The administrative support team can see you are waiting and will often check in with the MS team about the delay. The support line for telehealth is 02 4921 3050
Arts for Health
Visual arts have long been recognised to improve the experience of chronic disease, through self- expression and camaraderie of creating art with other people. This type of therapy or support has been embraced by the Hunter MS Service, in collaboration with the John Hunter Hospital’s Arts for Health Programme and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI). If you would like to know more about the next workshop and exhibition please contact us.
Photography by Joanne Butterfield, 2015.