8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are closed during most national holidays.
You can schedule a new or follow-up appointment by calling the MS Institute scheduler at 404-352-2020.
It's hard to find a more comprehensive list of neurological and rehabilitative services than those offered at Shepherd Center. Patients receive state-of-the-art medical care from our neurologists inside one of the nation's leading rehabilitation hospitals. These services include:
During your appointment, you will be evaluated by a neurologist and/or MS nurse—individuals who are experienced in MS treatment and rehabilitation. They will recommend only the services that will benefit you. Following this evaluation, you and your treatment team will design a customized plan that allows for maximum results at minimum cost. It is important to share with your treatment planning team any physical or emotional concerns that you have. You should always feel free to request services and make suggestions.
We recommend that all Shepherd Center patients have a family doctor or primary care physician who is close to their home for easy access and routine medical care.
Your family doctor/primary care physician can also oversee your general medical care and provide referrals to specialists as needed. Many insurance plans require that you have a primary care physician. Please read and understand your insurance benefits carefully.
Many of our patients live outside the Atlanta area. Usually, we can set up treatment closer to your home for infusions, therapy, etc. (This may depend on your insurance coverage.) Having a good relationship with a local family doctor/primary care physician or neurologist is beneficial in coordinating care outside of Georgia.
Our neurologists are active members of professional organizations including the National Consortium of MS Institutes. They have extensive experience in the management of multiple sclerosis. Together, they provide care to a growing number of people with MS throughout the southeast.
All of the professionals working in the MS Institute have specialized training and experience in the treatment of MS. The MS Institute at Shepherd also has three MS Certified nurses on staff.
The MS Institute welcomes the opportunity to coordinate care with your current physician.
A relapse is defined as a new or worsened neurological symptom lasting as least 48 hours. There should not be an underlying fever or infection, as these may worsen symptoms.
MS attacks (relapses) are unexpected and can alter your ability to participate in some activities. Although attacks should be reported to your neurologist for documentation and possible treatment, they are not considered a medical emergency.
In very rare cases, an attack can cause difficulty breathing or inability to empty the bladder. These cases are considered emergencies – go to the nearest emergency room. If you do not have transportation or are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or your county's emergency ambulance number.
The MS Institute has a nurse assigned to answer your phone calls Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 404-352-2020. Calls received after 4 p.m. will be returned the next business day. If you are having an emergency, please call 911 or go to your local emergency room.
Please note that calls made in the afternoon may be returned in the early evening. When the Center is closed, a neurologist is on call for neurological problems that cannot wait until office hours.
Shepherd Center does not have an emergency room. We offer specialty neurological and rehabilitation services that require appointments. If you are having an emergency, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.
We also recommend that you have a family doctor or primary care physician (PCP) near your home for minor emergencies such as bladder infections, colds or flu.
An untreated bladder infection can lead to high fevers (101 or above), vomiting and worsening of MS symptoms. If you have a high fever and/or severe vomiting, go to your family doctor/PCP or nearest emergency room.
If you suspect a bladder infection, call your family doctor or primary care physician (PCP). Many people with MS have problems emptying their bladder. This can lead to bladder infections. The symptoms of a bladder infection are: fever, blood in urine, pain or burning when urinating or catheterizing.
To treat a bladder infection, a test must be done on your urine. This test is called a "culture and sensitivity (C&S)" and will show the doctor which medicine will work best on your infection.
Shepherd Center can perform a urine culture and sensitivity if your doctor has given a written order for this test. Call your family doctor/PCP or urologist if you suspect a bladder infection.
If you do not have a family doctor/PCP or urologist, call the MS Institute at 404-352-2020 and ask for the nurse. The nurse will determine if your symptoms require a urine specimen.
If an order is given by your neurologist or family doctor/PCP for the test, please schedule an appointment for the urine test by calling the scheduler at 404-352-2020.
We encourage patients who have an indwelling Foley or suprapubic have a family member or significant other trained to change and maintain the catheter. If this is not possible, your physician may recommend home health services to change the Foley or suprapubic in the home.
The frequency of these tube changes is very different among patients. Some patients may need changes every 2-4 months and others require a monthly change. Please remember to keep an extra catheter at the home in case the tube becomes plugged and must be changed.
Bring any forms that the physician needs to complete to your scheduled visit. Please allow at least four weeks before the date the papers requested are needed.
The Shepherd Health Information System (Medical Records) department will gladly release medical records per your written request. A release form may be obtained while at the Center or by calling Health Information Systems directly at 404-350-7493.
Yes, we work closely with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Georgia Chapter and offer community education sessions, aquatics classes and other programs, which are sponsored by the NMSS – GA Chapter.
Yes. Shepherd Center offers a monthly support group for people, who have been touched by MS to share their experiences. By talking with others, participants gain positive reinforcement and valuable insights on maintaining a fulfilling life.
Meetings are held the second Saturday of each month at Shepherd Center, 2020 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. For more information or to get in contact with peer group members, call 404-350-7549 or email Robert Godsall.
The National MS Society – GA Chapter also offers support groups that meet throughout the state. Call the chapter at 770-393-8833 for locations and meeting times. We also recommend that you register with the chapter to receive mailings, newsletters and special program updates.
Shepherd Center offers both individual and group aquatics therapy in our indoor, temperature-controlled pool. The classes are cosponsored by the NMSS – GA Chapter and are reasonably priced to encourage participation. For more information, call 404-350-7787.
Shepherd Center does not offer a custodial care program for nursing or maintenance care. We provide outpatient and inpatient treatment to increase individual independence and safety on a specific goal-oriented basis.
However, Shepherd has added respite services for people with MS. This service is offered on a private pay basis at Shepherd Pathways in Decatur. For additional information, discuss this option with the case manager or Shepherd Center admissions at 404-350-7345.
We are happy to perform your lab work, BUT your insurance plan may have restrictions regarding where you are authorized to go. Please remember to check with your insurance regarding the preferred laboratory site prior to have any lab work done. This is important so that your insurance pays for the testing.
If you have your lab work done at Shepherd Center, your physician will review these results. The nurse or physician will notify you if you have any abnormal results for your condition or if an action needs to be taken because of the results. You will not be called if results are normal or in range for your condition.
Call the MS Institute at 404-352-2020. Please follow the instructions on the recording. Refills requested before 2 p.m. will be called into your pharmacy the same day. Requests after 2 p.m. will be called in the next working day. Please check with your pharmacy prior to going to pick up your medication.The physician will refill medication if:
Do not let your medications run out. Calling in advance of need is required since some medications require a clinic visit, blood work or insurance authorization.
Please call at least 1 to 2 months ahead if you are on Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif or Copaxone because most insurance plans require special authorization forms or extensive medical record reviews. This process is called re-certification and it is dictated by your insurance plan. Since Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif and Copaxone should be taken long term, plan ahead and know your insurance company's re-certification requirements.
Shepherd physicians recommend that patients needing wheelchairs be evaluated in the Shepherd Center seating clinic, which is staffed by seating specialists. Call the nurse to obtain a referral and prescription from your physician for an evaluation in this clinic. Then, schedule an appointment by calling the seating clinic at 404-350-7760.
The Shepherd Center Day Program is an outpatient rehabilitation program designed to maximize independence through a comprehensive, goal-oriented approach for individuals with MS, spinal cord, acquired brain injuries, and/or neuromuscular disease who do not require inpatient supervision. Ask your neurologist and/or nurse for more information and/or a referral to the program. Initial screening for participation in the day program will be done over the phone by the Day Program case manager.
Please call the MS case manager at 404-350-2020 to get more information about the day program, or discuss treatment options with your MS Institute physician during your visit.
The MS Institute at Shepherd staff is eager to help you. Please feel free to discuss any additional concerns with us during your visit or call 404-350-7355.