Living well with multiple sclerosis

Just one year after the birth of her first son, Lesley was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It was a devastating shock to the young mum. The condition has impacted Lesley’s speech, mobility and independence, however with the ongoing support of a specialised multidisciplinary team at Royal Rehab Private she has been able to live a full and rewarding life. Lesley has been returning to Royal Rehab Private Hospital over the decades for its expertise in neurological rehabilitation.

“I chose this hospital because I believe it’s the best place for neurological rehabilitation. Through the rehabilitation program, I set my own goals related to speech, mobility and independence that are important and meaningful to me.”

Lesley is being treated by a team of skilled and compassionate allied health professionals including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nursing and speech pathologists, all under the supervision of leading Rehabilitation Specialist, Dr Lee.

Lesley’s spasticity causes her muscles to contract, which has been interfering with her normal movement, speech and gait. Multiple sclerosis is a condition of the central nervous system, interfering with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.  Even though multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease, research has shown that specific therapies can help reduce the risk of relapses and disease progression.

“I have been coming to Royal Rehab Private Hospital when I felt I needed extra support and I’ve found it very helpful. Last time I came to Royal Rehab Private, I couldn’t even walk two metres. Once I started working with the rehabilitation staff, I managed to walk 100 metres. It takes persistence, but I learnt that you can get there.”

During a recent visit to Royal Rehab Private Hospital, Lesley’s goal was to regain mobility and life skills to actively participate in family life again. Her ability to move her left arm and to effectively speak and communicate with her family was becoming increasingly more difficult.

Royal Rehab Private’s speech pathologist, Vanessa Arratia, worked with Lesley to help her pronounce difficult and longer words better and increasing her confidence and ability to talk with background noise.

“Lesley has been progressing well through her rehabilitation journey and she regularly attends coffee group at Royal Rehab Private, where she can put her newly acquired speech skills to practice in a supportive group setting,” said Vanessa.


Lesley has also been attending regular therapy sessions with her physiotherapist to regain further function in her left arm after Botox injections. It was also recommended that Lesley use a knee brace to minimise her right knee locking to improve stability in knee joint, thus ability to walk further without damaging ligaments. Lesley was given an individualised home exercise program to continue with daily at home to improve her balance, walking and standing.

Ongoing sessions with her occupational therapist have been helping Lesley with her upper arm range with stretching and electrical stimulation.  Lesley was motivated to regain movement in her arm so she could hold onto her walker with both hands and open her make up containers. By the time Lesley was discharged from rehab, she was able to grasp items in her hands and regain further function.

“I feel very supported in my rehabilitation goals and that I can achieve them at Royal Rehab Private Hospital with the support of the rehabilitation staff.“Coming to Royal Rehab Private has also given me a support network of meeting other people living with multiple sclerosis.”

Lesley looks forward to being able to return home to family life, where she can feel more confident in her abilities and is able to enjoy being an active member in her family once again.