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CMSC 2023 | Optimizing technology for advanced MS patients

Alexander Burnham, MS, CCC-SLP, MSCS, The Boston Home, Dorchester, MA, describes how technology can be utilized to help patients with advanced multiple sclerosis (MS). These patients require technology so that they can have some level of independence. Many use power wheelchairs with adaptive controls, tablets, smartphones, and environmental control units. These devices are often accessible by speech recognition, which can present an issue for patients with MS as they often experience a decline in motor speech intelligibility. To overcome this, devices can be modified to be closer to the patient’s head, or the listening duration of the device can be increased. A questionnaire of MS patients confirmed the importance of technology in managing their condition and identified three of the most important factors to users – the dimensions of the device, the weight of the device, and ease of use of the device. This confirmed that the current focus on adapting mainstream technology for MS patients aligns with what the users value. This interview took place at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Congress 2023 in Aurora, CO.

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Alexander Burnham is a salaried employee of the Boston Home, Inc, the primary clinical site where he completes outcomes research.