Vanny Soeung spoke on the January MS/Cancer monthly telephone conference about her role as a social worker at the Maxine Mesinger Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She described her work and the clinic services for MS patients.
Soeung's role is to help patients with schedules, their diagnosis, during doctors' visits, addressing their needs and getting consultations from the doctors. "There are challenges when dealing with family issues, access to treatment, emotional and financial support, work-related issues. I am there to help the patients and their families access the appropriate services."
Soeung assists patients in person and on the telephone and considers her work uplifting and rewarding. "I never know what issues the patients have. Every one is different," Seoung said. "I help with any kind of assistance needed and make referrals for patients for social services. I do it all."
Soeung, who earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and her master's in social work, added that she and other social workers call each other for information and to share experiences as this is an emotional field in which to work.
During the conference call, Soeung asked participants about their dual diagnoses and treatment of MS and breast cancer. "We don't find very many people who are dually diagnosed."
The Maxine Mesinger Multiple Sclerosis Clinic treats approximately 4,000 patients and offers a range of services in one location, which is convenient for the patients. The clinic conducts clinical research with oral, injectable and infused therapies, with an onsite infusion center across from the clinic and is considered a comprehensive care center, with neurological evaluation and treatment.
The clinic is staffed with doctors, neurologists, MS certified nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, clinical research associates, neuropsychologists, physiatrists and physical therapists. Victor M. Rivera, M.D. and George J. Hutton, M.D. head the clinic. Depending on health insurance coverage, patients do not have to be referred by a physician.
Some of the services include full neurological evaluations with treatments of MS symptoms, investigational drug trials of new treatments of early, chronic, progressive, and relapsing MS, physical medicine and rehabilitation evaluations and consultations, psychological evaluation and counseling, home cognitive retraining programs, social services evaluation and assistance and disability and insurance counseling.
"The clinic has a small intimate setting, and we work hard to build good relationships with our patients," Soeung said.
"I encourage all of our clients to become members of the National MS Society. They are a great resource for educational materials and other issues related to MS," Soeung said. The MS society website is www.nationalmssociety.org.