A New App Is Changing Multiple Sclerosis Self-Care
Today, there is an app for everything. Want to book a hotel room? There’s an app for that. Want to know the most fertile time of the month? There’s an app for that. Need more energy because multiple sclerosis is making you tired? Well, now there’s an app for that, too.
So many tasks today can be accomplished with an app. Now, there’s even an app to help gain more energy with multiple sclerosis. Technology is advancing along with its increasing implementation in medicine. Using this technology in computerized charting systems in hospitals is reducing errors in the healthcare field. There are a number of phone apps for medical management, too. One such app enables people to have greater control over and become more involved in their healthcare plan. It also benefits the patient’s overall health, improving their quality of life. This app falls under the category of “multiple sclerosis support.” It helps people with MS get connected to each other so they can interact with and support one another. A similar app is MS Self. Through this app, people with MS can track their moods and activities throughout the day. However, another step forward has been taken with MS Energise.
Fatigue is the most common life-altering symptom of MS. After performing even minimal activity, a person may feel exhausted and find it difficult to get out of bed. This has a negative impact on every aspect of their life. With this in mind, an app to help people with MS was recently developed by Bournemouth University and Auckland University in New Zealand. The app, called MS Energise, uses an evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy approach. This therapy is goal-oriented and takes a hands-on, practical approach to change the thinking and behavioral patterns that cause emotional difficulties in patients. The main focus of the therapy is on the relationship between one’s thoughts, behavior, and problems. The approach has been clinically proven to help maximize patient energy. The app minimizes the need to scroll on the phone, so people with physical impairments can use it more easily. There are seven modules in the app, and each is comprised of three sections. The first section concerns providing information, the second is about interaction, and the third is application. According to the developers’ advertisement, the app was designed specifically for fatigue.
The app provides a great deal of research information to educate people. It first discusses the difference between fatigue and tiredness and then takes a look at factors such as thoughts, behaviors, emotions, and other physical influences that can cause fatigue. Next, it teaches fatigue self-management techniques. The information gained through each module is meant to be used in everyday life, allowing the user to become independent and successful in managing the complications of MS. Factors that can contribute to fatigue are listed in the “learn” section. The users are kept engaged through animations and videos. They can then record their energy level and fatigue in the “interact” section. Users can also log their activities and emotions so that they can recognize patterns in their fatigue level, which will allow them to identify their triggers and work on reducing or controlling them. This section is individualized, so honesty is very important in order for them to make appropriate behavioral changes based on their specific needs. They can save these recordings for later use as well. In the “apply” section, the user will put into practice what they learned in the previous two sections. Diaries can be maintained to set and log personal goals. The user can also set reminders to rest or engage in activities. The app was designed to engage the user and motivate them to continue implementing it to see the long-term benefits.