Understanding Motor Neurone Disease
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a group of conditions that affect nerve cells, or motor neurones, in the brain.
Motor neurones carry signals from the brain to the body’s muscles via the spinal cord. MND happens when some of those neurones start to die, and the body can’t send signals to those muscles. Those muscles then start to weaken and waste away. The effects of MND on a person depend on which motor neurones and muscles are affected. People might experience mobility issues in some or all of their body, difficulty breathing and swallowing, and changes in mood.
You might have heard of MND referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). It’s not known what causes MND, but a small percentage of cases appear to be hereditary.
MND usually progresses quickly and shortens a person’s life significantly. There are treatments and supports available to improve your quality of life and ease your symptoms.
Signs and diagnosis of MND
Early signs of MND can be subtle and set in slowly. Not everyone shows the same symptoms, but some of the most common ones are:
- Weakness in the legs, difficulty walking and tendency to trip or fall
- Weakness in the shoulders, arms, hands and grip
- Slurred speech, drooling or difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Changes in mood, including feeling like your emotions are out of your control
- Fatigue, muscle wastage and weight loss.
There is no one test for MND, and its symptoms can be similar to a lot of other conditions. A neurologist usually confirms diagnosis of MND. If you are diagnosed with MND, the neurologist will support you through the next steps for treatment, management and end-of-life planning.
Treatment and management
MND starts and progresses differently for everyone. Your treatment and management plan should be tailored to you.
There’s no cure for MND, but your doctor will work with you to manage your symptoms and quality of life. They will likely take a multidisciplinary approach, which means involving other allied health professionals to manage the effects of MND on your body and life.
Your management plan might include:
- Medications to slow the disease’s progression. These are only prescribed to people with certain types of MND.
- Dietary changes and support from a dietitian.
- Occupational therapy to promote mobility and safety.
- Physiotherapy to maintain your mobility and manage discomfort, as well as provide advice to your family if they will be assisting you in movement.
- Counselling or psychological support. The impacts of MND on you and your loved ones can be significant. It’s important to take care of your mental and emotional health during this time.
There’s no one treatment for MND that works for everyone, and your own needs are going to change over time.
While researchers are investigating new medications and therapies to improve quality of life with MND, these aren’t yet available on the market. Unproven, non-scientific therapies are often advertised promising a cure or radically effective treatment. Always talk to your doctor before trying any new treatment.
Genetic testing and counselling are available for people whose relatives have developed MND. This is something you should discuss with your doctor before making any decisions.
Country Care Group – we’re here for you
At Country Care Group we have the experience and passion to support you after a stroke. We want to support you to return to the things you love. We’ll work with you and your health team to understand your needs and provide specific advice.
We rely on our staff’s long-term expertise in the industry, we service and test things ourselves, and we listen to what our customers tell us.
What we will do: make sure you get the simple and effective tools you need for your rehabilitation journey.
What we won’t do: try to sell you junk that costs a lot and doesn’t work.
Come and make use of our private consultation suites. Meet with allied health professionals, support staff and NDIS Ambassadors right next to our product showrooms to make sure you’re getting the right supports for you.
Bathroom and personal care
Comfort and safety
Supports and services
Your support needs may be complex as your condition progresses. Talk to your doctor about how much support you will need now and in the future, and any funding options available for you and your carers.
If you’re diagnosed with MND before the age of 65, you can apply for the . The NDIS provides funding for disability-related supports and services. Here at Country Care Group, we have expert NDIS Ambassadors who can guide you through the NDIS process.
If you’re over 65 or not eligible for the NDIS, you might be able to get support in the home through aged care services, or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Planning ahead is important. MND Australia have developed a thorough guide to disease progression and end of life care.
You can call their information line for free at 1800 777 175 or visit MND Australia for more information about supports and resources available near you.
Support for carers of people with MND
MND can be difficult for families, friend and carers, too.
The work of caring for someone with MND can be physically and emotionally exhausting. It can also be a big and sudden change to process, and many people find the impending grief difficult to manage while wanting to care for their loved one.
If you care for or are close to someone with MND, it’s important you talk to your doctor about the supports available for you, too.
MND Australia provide a lot of support and ways to connect with others about your experience.
MND can affect your mobility quickly, and in different ways over time. Our staff consider what you might need over the course of your condition, so you don’t have to keep buying new products as your symptoms progress.
We build and sell high-quality, user-tested mobility supports. We also offer free safety and orientation programs so you can get comfortable and confident before leaving the store.
Complex Rehabilitation Team
We know survivors of major stroke can have complex care needs that require thoughtful planning and support.
Our Complex Rehabilitation Team are respected specialists in the field, with decades’ experience supporting stroke survivors through their rehabilitation and return to the home.
They work with you and your health team to provide the best advice and product recommendations.
Contact our Complex Rehab Team to book a free and private consultation.
Changes around the house can make it possible for you to stay in your own home in safety and comfort for longer.
Our qualified home modification specialists work with you, your health professionals and architects to make your home safe and accessible. We can visit you to see what will work best, or come see our range of products in one of our showrooms.
Get in touch today
Whether you’re looking for some simple tools to make things a bit easier around the house, or you’re navigating the NDIS for the first time, our expert staff are here for you.
Contact us today so we can work with you to manage your stroke recovery and get the most out of life.