Background: Preliminary evidence suggests that palliative care may be useful for people with severe multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a home-based palliative approach (HPA) for people with severe MS and their carers. Methods/design: This is a single-blind randomized controlled trial with a nested qualitative study. Seventy-five severe MS-carer dyads are being randomized (at three centers, one in each area of Italy) to HPA or usual care (UC) in a 2:1 ratio. Each center has a specially trained team consisting of four professionals (physician, nurse, psychologist, social worker). The team makes a comprehensive assessment of the needs of the dyads. HPA content is then agreed on, discussed with the patient's caring physician, and delivered over six months. The intervention is not intended to replace existing services. At later visits, the team checks the HPA delivery and reviews/modifies it as necessary. Discussion: The results of our study will show whether the HPA is feasible and beneficial to people with severe MS and their carers living in the three Italian geographic areas. The nested qualitative study will add to the understanding of the strengths and limitations of the intervention.
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