Date of Award


Degree Name

Nursing (D.N.P.)


College of Nursing

First Advisor

Cynthia Coviak

Second Advisor

Karen Burritt

Third Advisor

Katherine Dabkowski


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, degenerative condition of the central nervous system that leaves patients with a wide variety of symptoms and disability. Symptoms include decreases in energy levels, muscle strength, bone strength, vision, sensation, coordination, cognition, hearing, balance, and quality of life. Exercise has been well supported as a way to reduce symptoms and slow the disease progression of MS. Outpatient exercise programs have also been shown effective in providing patients with the necessary tools to perform appropriate exercises at home. Yet, few programs are available that are appropriate for patients with MS. This project aimed to, first, assist clinic staff in the improvement of a pre-existing exercise program individualized for patients with MS; second, evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing and recruitment strategies by determining the number of patients receiving class information before and after interventions, as well as by measuring class attendance; and third, to evaluate the effectiveness of the program by measuring mobility improvements of participants and patient perceptions of improvement. The intervention took place at an urban community hospital with a neuroscience center devoted to caring for MS patients. Information distribution was increased by 357%. Attendance rates remained low, however consistency in attendance improved. Perceived improvements in knowledge, frequency of exercise, mobility and quality of life were noted. Improvements in physical measures were noted, as one participant had a 63% decrease in the timed 25-foot walk test. Valuable lessons were learned regarding implementing a project of this type. This paper discusses the background information, problem statement, intervention, evaluation methods, outcomes, sustainability, and dissemination methods related to the project.

Included in

Nursing Commons