Disease-modifying Lifestyle 'virtual clinic': what it is and how to use it

Offering a 'healthy lifestyle' clinic to people living with MS, and other long term conditions, can be a brilliant way to support people in making informed lifestyle changes that can have a positive impact on their condition.

Dr Agne Straukiene, consultant neurologist and MS specialist, and Dr Colin Bannon, a retired GP and honorary doctor with MS himself, have put together this virtual clinic based on physical clinics they have run in the past. Professionals can use this to run their own clinics, either as a resource, a template, or to offer as it is direct to patients in group or solo settings.

There are plenty of slides, resources and other helpful documents and links that can supplement the video, which can be used in isolation, with the video, or as further information for people with MS as and when they may find it useful.

Agne recommends replacing one 'normal' clinic each month with a healthy lifestyle clinic instead – read why here.

To navigate this video more easily, we have noted the timings of different sections, allowing you to pick and choose the sections which are relevant to you and your patient group.

Overview topicTimingsAssociated resources
Why do we need healthy lifestyle clinics and how do we engage our patients?0.49-3.08
– HLS workstream
– 'Health and wellness could revolutionise our management of long-term neurological conditions' BJNN
Handy forms to support 1:1 clinical chats or offer as self-management resources
Colin's presentationSee embedded PDF below
Introduction to MS and interventions3.08-9.36
The Western Lifestyle and avoiding its pitfalls9.36-15.17
Flipping this - the benefits of lifestyle in modifying MS:
– stopping smoking
– staying trim
– keeping moving
– avoid alcohol
– quality diet

Varied resources to help understand and improve how and what we eat
– Smoking cessation support - for healthcare professionals / for people who smoke
Ideas for moving more - and how exercise and movement are not the same thing
Specific lifestyle changes for MSMS diets and brain-healthy foodvitamin Dsleepmeditation49.46-1.02.19
– Vitamin D and MS (UK MS Society)
– Tips to maximise your sleep quality
– Sleep matters with MS - strategies for improving sleep (US National MS Society podcast) and other sleep and MS resources
Preventing MS in family members1.02.03
Summary of the disease-modifying lifestyle1.04.46-1.13.14

Dr Colin Bannon's presentation

The resources

In addition to the specific resources signposted to beside each section of Colin's talk, which you can use or direct people with MS towards as they work to manage their own condition, we have a number of other resources too, which will be continually expanded over time.

The workstream responsible for encouraging lifestyle clinics across the UK is developing one-page leaflets on nutrition, movement, sleep and stress that can be printed and given, or linked to, people with MS featuring clear, evidence-based and simple ideas for modifying their lifestyle.

Agne has recorded three short mindfulness sessions that can be used within your virtual clinic or as a resource to those who attend:

Additionally, slide decks with in-depth information on these areas, further reading and useful podcasts to signpost people with MS and other long term conditions towards, self-monitoring forms to use or adapt, and more.
Find all those resources in the PDF below, which can also be downloaded:

Three-minute breathing space: a resource

Example invitation letter: Disease-Modifying Lifestyle Clinic

This letter is an example of an appointment letter to the Disease-Modifying Lifestyle clinic. You are welcome to adapt it for use locally, or to adapt it to offer an online clinic. In correspondence, ideally use font Arial or similar, and size 12-14, to aid with visual accessibility.

The healthy lifestyle workstream supporting these resources has created a short survey to help them collect basic information about current healthy lifestyle activities across the UK. Gathering this baseline data is essential to inform how the group moves forward to help MS services with implementing new healthy lifestyle pathways. Please take a few minutes to complete the handful of questions.

Start survey

If you offer 'disease-modifying lifestyle' clinics or similar support to those with MS, and have resources that you think could benefit others, please let us know and we will add them to our resources section.

Finally, if you find these resources useful, use them to run a disease-modifying lifestyle clinic, or want to get involved with this workstream, please do get in touch.

Encouraging excellence, developing leaders, inspiring change

MS Academy was established five years ago and in that time has accomplished a huge amount. The six different levels of specialist MS training are dedicated to case-based learning and practical application of cutting edge research. Home to national programme Raising the Bar and the fantastic workstream content it is producing, this is an exciting Academy to belong to.