Specialist Healthcare & An Emergency Healthcare Plan
For some adults diagnosed with SMA in early childhood, healthcare by an expert team at a specialist neuromuscular centre transfers smoothly over to adult services and continues regularly (often annually). If SMA continues to impact health significantly, specialist appointments and hospital stays may be frequent. For others, it’s not uncommon to have less to do with the health service or to no longer be under the care of a specialist centre – this can happen for any number of reasons, including just wanting to get on with life. Some adults whose symptoms appeared later as a teenager or in adulthood may, once they’ve had a diagnosis, have only since had the occasional appointment and check-up or even slipped out of the system, with no specialist contact.
If you’re regularly involved with your health team or are at least on the books for regular reviews, the international Standards of Care for SMA (SoC), recommend that one person from your team who is knowledgeable about what’s likely to happen with your SMA and the best ways to manage it should be your ‘care co-ordinator’. Often this is your neuromuscular consultant.
If you no longer see any specialists but things have changed for you and you feel you would like to talk with someone and be seen, contact your GP and ask for a referral to the neuromuscular service at your nearest adult specialist centre. List here when possible
The SoC also recommend that anyone with SMA should have an Emergency Healthcare Plan (EHP) - a written plan of action that any medical team can follow if you become unwell. It’s best to agree your plan while you are well. What’s in it will depend on the impact your SMA has on you. You can find more information about what should be in it in:
A Guide to the 2017 International Standards of Care for SMA: www.smauk.org.uk/international-standards-of-care-for-sma
Chapter 9 Emergency Care.
SMA UK Emergency Health Plan App
If you have a mobile / tablet, SMA UK has an app which you can use to upload a copy of your latest EHP so that you always have it available. It's free to download on Android and iOS. Find out more here: https://ehpapp.com/
Emergency Alert Cards
You may also find these cards produce by MDUK useful.
Find out more here: www.musculardystrophyuk.org/about-muscle-wasting-conditions/information-factsheets/conditions/alert-cards-and-care-plans/alert-cards/