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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Swedish Neuroscience Institute to open new MS Center

New Facility has been under development for several years and is largely funded through philanthropy

Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) will open its new MS Center at Swedish to patients on April 9. Carefully designed for easy accessibility and to promote the well-being of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the new 11,700-square-foot center gives SNI the ability to consolidate all of its MS services into one facility. An additional 1,500-square-feet of outside therapy terrace will provide a safe environment for patients to work with a therapist on improving their gait over different terrain.

The new center also enables scientists, researchers, physicians and patients to work collaboratively toward new treatment options for those diagnosed with MS. In a move that further establishes Swedish's neuroscience program as a leader in the region, the MS Center at Swedish is the most comprehensive facility of its kind on the West Coast and one of only a handful in the country.

The new center will give people with MS and their families easy access to a unique, multidisciplinary team of skilled neurologists and a specialized nursing staff to deliver the highest quality of coordinated care, new treatments and a variety of wellness options. The full team includes neurologists; neuro-ophthalmologists; physiatrists; social workers; a psychologist; a speech therapist; vocational, physical, occupational and cognitive rehabilitation therapists; as well as others who specialize in treating, educating and supporting people with MS. All of these caregivers are committed to a comprehensive approach to MS care that treats the whole person and addresses each patient's emotional, psychological, social and physical needs in a supportive environment.

The National MS Society's Northwest Chapter says more than 12,000 people inWashington state, Montana and Alaska have the disease. Approximately 9,500 of those cases are in Washington state, one of the highest incident rates in the country.

"The Pacific Northwest region has been disproportionately affected by MS, and researchers still don't know why," said Marc Mayberg, M.D., chief medical director of Swedish Neuroscience Institute. "We hope our targeted focus on MS helps provide answers for the many patients in our community who are battling this disease."

Currently, patients in the Pacific Northwest have to go to multiple locations to receive care. The new center will consolidate Swedish's existing treatments and research, as well as physical therapy and gym space filled with equipment designed for the needs of people with MS, including physical and rehabilitative therapy programs. The location and layout of the clinic is designed to provide people with MS easy access to the center.

The center will also offer yoga classes and access to social workers, vocational counselors, individual and family support groups, rehab therapists and many educational resources, all within a supportive environment.

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