Improving fatigue in multiple sclerosis by smartphone-supported energy management : the MS TeleCoach feasibility study
Background: Fatigue is a frequently occurring, often disabling symptom in MS with no single effective treatment. In current fatigue management interventions, personalized, real-time follow-up is often lacking. The objective of the study is to assess the feasibility of the MS TeleCoach, a novel intervention offering telemonitoring of fatigue and telecoaching of physical activity and energy management in persons with MS (pwMS) over a 12-week period. The goal of the MS TeleCoach, conceived as a combination of monitoring, self-management and motivational messages, is to enhance levels of physical activity thereby improving fatigue in pwMS in an accessible and interactive way, reinforcing self-management of patients. Methods: We conducted a prospective, open-label feasibility study of the MS TeleCoach in pwMS with Expanded Disability Status Scale <= 4 and moderate to severe fatigue as measured by the Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions (FSMC). Following a 2-week run-in period to assess the baseline activity level per patient, the target number of activity counts was gradually increased over the 12-week period through telecoaching. The primary efficacy outcome was change in FSMC total score from baseline to study end. A subset of patients was asked to fill in D-QUEST 2.0, a usability questionnaire, to evaluate the satisfaction with the MS TeleCoach device and the experienced service. Results: Seventy-five patients were recruited from 16 centres in Belgium, of which 57 patients (76%) completed the study. FSMC total score (p = 0.009) and motor and cognitive subscores (p = 0.007 and p = 0.02 respectively) decreased from baseline to week 12, indicating an improvement in fatigue. One third of participants with severe fatigue changed to a lower FSMC category for both FSMC total score and subscores. The post-study evaluation of patient satisfaction showed that the intervention was well accepted and that patients were very satisfied with the quality of the professional services. Conclusion: Using MS TeleCoach as a self-management tool in pwMS suffering from mild disability and moderate to severe fatigue appeared to be feasible, both technically and from a content perspective. Its use was associated with improved fatigue levels in the participants who completed the study. The MS Telecoach seems to meet the need for a low-cost, accessible and interactive self-management tool in MS.
Source (journal)
Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
22 (2018) , p. 90-96
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Full text (open access)
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Web of Science
Creation 12.06.2018
Last edited 15.11.2022
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