Reflecting on MND Care for MND Awareness Month
14 June 2022
As we approach the end of MND Awareness month, a word from Dr Michael Johnson, who set-up the MND centre in Leeds;
“I came to work as a specialist neurologist at St James’s in 1987, having trained in London. At that time, neurologists had to deal with every type of neurological disorder and their main role was in making an accurate diagnosis. People with early signs of motor neurone disease would be seen for their symptoms to be assessed, they would be examined and some tests performed and they would be referred back to their general practitioner with an incurable disease for which there was no treatment.
Together with interested and compassionate therapists specialising in neurological conditions, a group of individuals began to work together to offer coordinated visits to a clinic where physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and nutritional advice could be provided.
With a focus to support to improve the quality of life of people with MND, a new centre was set up with funding from the MND Association. Seacroft Hospital had vacated wards and was ideal as there was good parking and level access to clinic spaces where different therapists could treat patients on a single visit. An important development was the appointment of a specialist nurse who would know all the patients and their families so that their needs could be met by the appropriate therapist.
The service has grown with links to research centres in Sheffield and input from palliative care and other services. While there is still no cure, we are hopeful that medical advances will accrue from the new MND centre where more space will be available for tailored treatment for each individual.”