Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
VA Puget Sound Health Care System is committed to supporting Veterans with multiple sclerosis to live a full and productive life, offering a complete spectrum of health care services.
MS is a complex neurologic disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) which includes the brain, spinal cord and vision pathways. In MS, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath, the fatty tissue that surrounds and protects nerve fibers, as well as the nerve fibers themselves. This damage is called demyelination, and the scar tissues that develop when myelin is damaged are called sclerosis, also known as lesions or plaques.
When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, causing a wide variety of symptoms. Sometimes the myelin can repair itself and the MS symptoms go away after the immune attack, or relapse. However, over time, the myelin and underlying nerve fibers cannot recover and suffer permanent damage. This may lead to a decline in function which you would notice as a worsening of your MS symptoms.
VA Puget Sound Health Care System is committed to supporting Veterans with MS to live a full and productive life, offering a complete spectrum of health care services. Its MS health care team works with Veterans and their families to develop an individualized plan to support the best health outcomes. Veterans are encouraged to learn as much as they can about MS and engage in their care.
Neurology’s role in MS care:
- Establish the correct diagnosis of MS.
- Provide specialty care in Outpatient MS clinic.
- Provide Inpatient care for management of severe MS exacerbations.
- Perform lumbar punctures, if needed.
- Select disease modifying treatments and monitor their safety and effectiveness.
- Monitor the effects of MS with MRI.
- Partner with the VA’s infusion clinic to provide IV medications or therapies.
- Partner with RCS-MS Clinic in managing functional impairments or MS related symptoms that affect quality of life.
Rehabilitation’s role in MS care:
- Assess and manage medications for MS symptoms.
- Assess and manage MS symptoms such as fatigue, bowel and bladder problems, spasticity, pain, vision, and mood alteration.
- Assess and manage memory, swallowing and speech problems.
- Assess and manage problems with mobility and doing a home exercise program.
- Assess and manage problems with self-care like getting dressed, eating, getting on and off the toilet and in and out of the shower.
- Assess for and prescribe equipment such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, home safety equipment braces, and other adaptive technology.
- Assess and manage mood problems.
- Evaluate if there are VA or community resources that Veterans qualify for.
- Evaluate and make recommendations for leisure activities or help access community happenings despite disability.
- Vocational services.
There are many MS-related services that may be available to Veterans with MS. Please contact our MS clinic to learn more about these opportunities.
VA Puget Sound’s MS Clinic has been designated a Regional Program within the VA MS Centers of Excellence national network of MS Regional and MS Support Programs.
Locations and Hours of Operation
VA Seattle Medical Center
1660 S. Columbian Way
Seattle, WA 98108
Neurology - Main Office Bldg. 100/5B-108
MS Clinic at Primary Care, 2nd Floor on Wednesdays 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Rehabilitation Care - Main Office Bldg. 103/Rm 1117
MS Clinic at Building 103, 1st floor on Mondays 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Thursday 9 a.m. – noon
MS Clinic at West Clinic, 1st Floor on Wednesdays 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Make an Appointment
To make an appointment in Neurology: 206-277-3341
To make an appointment in Rehabilitation Care: 206-764-2202