Category Archives: Multiple Sclerosis

Talking Mats Eating and Drinking Resource

book front cover

We are launching our fantastic eating and drinking resource to support shared decision making. This has been co-produced with the help of  people with eating and drinking difficulties and a range of different professionals. The resource is designed to help people think about, discuss and make informed decisions about how to manage their eating and drinking more safely. People with eating and drinking difficulties should initially be assessed by a qualified Speech and Language Therapist and Dietitian who will recommend appropriate strategies to help them eat and drink safely. This resource is particularly useful in helping people understand the effect that their eating and drinking difficulties can have on their health. It also helps people talk about how they feel about recommended strategies.
When discussing eating and drinking, there are many issues to consider. We have provided symbols under three main topics to help present ideas in a structured way that reduces the likelihood that the person will be influenced.

Click on this image to see it more clearly.
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Discussing these topics separately means that people can firstly consider how they feel about different meal times, where they eat and types of food and then think about the impact that their eating and drinking has on their health. It also allows people to have a conversation about some of the suggested strategies and how acceptable these are.

We have run seminars specifically on this new resource in London and Stirling

Contact info@talkingmats.com for further information if you wish to attend a seminar in the future.

What’s in the Health and Well-being resource?

Talking-Mats-Free-Stuff

The Health and Well-being resource is based on the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) which is a framework which covers almost every aspect of daily life and can be applied over different cultures (WHO 2001).

ICF

Use of the WHO ICF helps professionals to think holistically about the people they are working with. We have produced four sets of symbols, based on WHO ICF, to help people express their views about different aspects of their lives. These cover 13 topics:

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You can use the symbols in different ways, depending on the cognitive abilities of the person you are working with. For example, if you are working with someone who can understand abstract concepts, you could start with the 13 main health and well-being symbols. Your top scale might be ‘managing’ and ‘not managing’. Here is an example of a mat completed by Duncan who had a stroke which affected his ability to communicate through speech:

Duncan mat 1

Using these symbols as a starting point, Duncan could tell us that his main concerns related to worries about his health, expressive communication and work. From here, we did ‘sub mats’ to help Duncan identify the specific areas he wanted to work on/explore.

Here is the mat Duncan completed in relation to his health:

duncan mat 2

Having done this mat with Duncan, it became clear that he was worried about various aspects of his health, particularly the risk of having another stroke. The wider team were able to give him and his wife information about stroke prevention. Other mats were also completed, exploring expressive communication, work and education and higher level communication (which is included in the ‘learning and thinking’ topic, and covers written communication as well as memory and concentration). Using the Health and Well-being symbols, we were able to work with Duncan to help him identify the main issues that he wanted to work on and then work towards more specific rehabilitation goals. Duncan had copies of all the mats he had completed and found it useful to refer to them over the months. This helped everybody stay on track in relation to his goals and he was also able to track his progress over time.

Have a look at our Health and Well-being resource on our website. It is available both as an original Talking Mat with a physical mat and symbol cards or as a  digital version  as part of The Talking Mats pro subscription

Can Talking Mats help people with Multiple Sclerosis?

H+WB

“About half of all people with multiple sclerosis have some degree of problem at some time with aspects of thinking – memory, attention span or concentration. …. Many people may not recognise cognitive symptoms as an aspect of their MS and they can arise early in the course of the condition although the greater the disease duration and severity the more likely problems are to occur”. MS Trust   
Talking Mats is one tool which can help people recognise any problems they may be having. It also provides a sensitive way for people to discuss these issues and plan ways to manage their situation.
We have developed a range of topics which encompass virtually all aspects of a person’s life
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The Learning and Thinking topic is particularly relevant. The following is an example of a Talking Mat done with Stella who has MS and lives at home with her husband and 3 children.
Top Scale Used: Managing: Need some help: Not managing

MS pic

Stella began by putting most of the option symbols between the Managing and Need some help columns. However as more symbols were presented, she took time and thought about each symbol more carefully and changed her mind about many of them.

She said that using Talking Mats helped her realise that she was having some problems. On completion of the mat, she showed it to her husband and together they discussed practical ways of ways of managing her difficulties.

There are a further 12 topics in the Health and Well-being resource that can be helpful to people with MS. these are available either on our app or as Talking Mats original.