Established in 2008, Bay of Plenty Multiple Sclerosis (BOPSMS) Society is a charitable trust and we support over 180 people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurological disorders, along with their families and carers, throughout the Bay of Plenty area.
Overall, we operate across three main areas, the two main areas are funded by grants , donations and fundraising =, the third by Ministry of Health Funding:
- The vast majority of our work involves social support and advocacy for our clients and their families.
- The balance of our services involves our service support staff who arange gym, pool and other exercise classes to be delivered, under contract, by specialist providers. Attendees make small contribution towards the cost of these classes.
- We are also a local information resource about MS and the impact on individuals and our community and a resource for our clients about new developments in treatment. This part of our work is funded through contract our National Office has with the Ministry of Health.
Our lead Fieldworker is a regsitered Social Worker and our service s delivered under a social work model and "scope of practice". Health and disability aspects of MS are dealt with separately by the health and disability agencies whom we liaise with, while we concentrate on the social complications associated with the condition.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic , neurodegenerative disorder which can have a devastating effect on people's lives. New Zealand has a high, and rising, prevalence of MS. It is usually diagnosed in yound adulthood, affecting people during their "productive" years - when workingand raising families. fatigue affects 75-90% of poeple with MS and, along with digestive system, eyesight and muscular problems, can be a very disabling complication. Fatigue in MS is not remediable with medication.
Our fieldworkers liaise closely and work co- operatively with other agencies including Support Net assessing agency, ST Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, Work Bridge, Housing NZ and Tauranga Community Housing Trust, WINZ, Tauranga Budgeting, Age Concern, Mental Health Services, Grief Support Services, Waipuna Hospice, numerous support agencies such as Geneva Health, Presbyterian support service and any other organisations required to help meet the physical, psuchological, financial and practical needs of our clients.
Our mission is to strive for excellence in the provision and delivery of advocacy, promotion, education, prevention, support and information services for people with MS and other neurological disorders in the Bay of Plenty Area.
We base our services on the principles of Enabling Good Lives (EGL) which was established in 2011 by a group of people from the Disability Sector.
This approach supports disabled people by offering greater choice and control over the assistance they receive, so that they can plan for the lives they want.
The principles of EGL are:
- Beginning early
- Person- centered
- Mainstream first
- Ordinary Life outcomes
- Mana enhancing
- Easy to use
- Relationship Building
Some of the areas we provide support and advocacy for people with MS include:
- working with people newly diagnosed with MS on a one-to-one basis, exploring what their diagnosis means for that person, their family and for the future
- providing support for partners, children, carers, friends, employers and work collegues
- facilitating support groups and networks
- liaisin with other service providers , such as home-based care providers, community health services ,counsellors, budgeting advocacy , food parcels, accommodation and health professionals to coordinate interventions to meet cleint needs
- liaising with government agencies wich as work and income
- needs assessment for the total mobility scheme i.e taxi vouchers
- bringing any health or disability issues we observe to the attention of health and disability agencies
- providing up to date knowledge about MS and its complications
Bay of Plenty Multiple Sclerosis Society outcomes include spreading awareness of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other Neurological conditions, educating employers and professionals about MS, along with continued support for members and their families / whanau toward maximizng wellbeing , quality of life, dignity and citizenship (the right to full participation in all aspects of society on an equal basis with others).