John Barrett enjoyed participating in a recent screening for those with Multiple sclerosis (MS) at an annual service learning event conducted by UTC physical therapy students.  Individuals with MS are screened by 29 students who work in small groups. Approximately five participants return annually for the screening.  Barrett, who was recently diagnosed, came for the first time.

“The students evaluated my condition, kept me from falling in the balance tests and along with their adviser, suggested actions that would make me more supple and less likely to fall down, including two separate sets of exercises/actions,” Barrett said.  “I do the exercises pretty faithfully and they have made my life easier.”

Students do not offer a formal plan of care, but rather make recommendations, according to Dr. Nancy Fell, who oversees the MS screenings.

“Access to recent research shows the benefits of exercise,” Fell said.

Barrett decided to discuss the results of the screening with several of his physicians.

Positive unexpected insights were also gained–the screening brought attention to a health issue unrelated to MS.   A subsequent discussion between Barrett and his doctor has led to progress.

This experience provided evaluation and feedback that were very helpful for Barrett, who hopes to be invited again to next year’s screening.

“In summation, when really impressed by something I tend to be a bit mercurial (waving my hands about and such). When discussing this program with both health care professionals and other people I have been a real danger to glassware.”

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