Background:

This study evaluates and describes the pattern of services provided for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a local area as a starting point for a more global assessment.

Methods:

A health care ecosystem approach has been followed using an internationally standardized service classification instrument—the Description and Evaluation of Services and DirectoriEs for Long Term Care (DESDE-LTC)—to identify and describe all services providing care to people with MS in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. Available services were classified according to the target population into those specifically dedicated to people living with MS and those providing general neurologic services, both public and private, and across both social and health sectors.

Results:

A limited range of services was available. There were no local facilities providing or coordinating multidisciplinary integrated care specific to people with MS. Subspecialty services specific to MS were limited in number (6 of the 28 services), and use of specialist services provided in neighboring states was frequently reported. Overall, very few services were provided outside the core health sector (4%).

Conclusions:

The provision of care to people living with MS in the Australian Capital Territory is fragmented and relies heavily on generic neurology services in the public and private sectors. More widespread use of the DESDE-LTC as a standardized method of service classification in MS will facilitate comparison with other local areas, allow monitoring of changes over time, and permit comparison with services provided for other health conditions (eg, dementia, mental disorders).

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