Eula C. & Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis Rehabilitation and Wellness Program

The Multiple Sclerosis Rehabilitation and Wellness Program at Shepherd Center is a dedicated program for the rehabilitative treatment and wellness of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and related conditions. We believe rehabilitation and wellness provide tools patients need to take control of their MS, whether through restoring lost function, learning to adapt to your current physical level, or continuing to remain fit and healthy.

We offer a comprehensive rehabilitation and wellness program with highly trained staff and specialized equipment. The Eula C. and Andrew C. Carlos MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Program offers multiple program tracks for patients with MS and related diagnoses. 

Download our MS Wellness Program fact sheet.

Multiple Sclerosis Wellness Program at Shepherd Center

MS Outpatient Rehabilitation

Skilled Therapy provides services for MS patients who need to improve function for daily living and require a skilled therapist to provide treatment and care. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy focus on changes in function. Patients who may benefit from skilled therapy include those who have a specific health issue to address (e.g., gait dysfunction, swallowing issues, significant increase in fatigue, muscle weakness, poor balance and falls).   

Intensive Therapy MS Day Program activities are designed for patients who may benefit from intensive physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and wellness intervention. Patients who benefit from this program may have experienced a gradual decline over time or have experienced a significant decline in function from an exacerbation. This program helps patients gain greater independence and provides vital education for caregivers and loved ones. Housing for patients in the MS Intensive Day Therapy Program is provided at no cost for the duration of the rehabilitation program for patients who live 60 miles or more from Shepherd Center.

To schedule an appointment for physical therapy, occupational therapy and/or speech therapy, contact Nacola Munford at 404-367-1268.

MS Wellness

The MS Wellness Program is designed to assist individuals living with MS to learn to manage their health in both a physical and psychosocial sense. Under the guidance of an exercise physiologist, this comprehensive program will teach participants exercises that are appropriate for their physical abilities and promote self-care. The program empowers patients to stay active and decrease the effects of deconditioning. Clients benefit from MS-specific group fitness classes, including land and aquatic classes. Many people enjoy Shepherd Center’s pool, which is cooled on the days MS wellness classes meet, decreasing risk of heat-related symptoms.

Educational classes are offered on a rolling schedule, providing access to information that is up-to-date and trustworthy. In addition, several social/cognitive groups are scheduled on a rotating basis, and these include activities in the community.

The wellness program focuses on research, as well.

Educational class examples include:

  • Symptom Management
  • Energy Conservation
  • Exercise Guidelines
  • Vocational Issues in MS
  • Community Resources
  • Research in MS
  • Treatments on the Horizon
  • Therapeutic Recreation and MS
  • Complementary Treatments
  • Nutrition

Exercise class examples include:

  • Core Strengthening
  • Lower-Extremity Strengthening
  • Cardio
  • Yoga
  • Aquatics
  • Pilates
  • Agility and Coordination
  • Newly Diagnosed Group

Social group examples include:

  • Fine Motor/Cognitive Group
  • Sewing
  • Bridge

Community outing examples include:

  • Zoo Atlanta
  • Atlanta Botanical Gardens
  • High Museum of Art

To inquire about a membership to the MS Wellness Program, contact exercise specialist Blake Burdett at 404-603-4916.

MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Research

The MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Research Program began in 2012 thanks to a generous donation from the Carlos family. Our research mission supports that of the clinical program and focuses on studies to improve the health, wellness and quality of life in all people with MS. To that end, our MS researchers are not only engaged in clinical trials that explore the efficacy of medical interventions and devices, but also in studies of vocation and quality of life, and the benefits and effects of exercise and rehabilitation interventions for people with MS (figure below). A concerted effort is also made to disseminate research findings (knowledge translation) to people with MS, as well as MS healthcare providers, caregivers and payers, with the goal of optimizing function and quality of life for all people living with MS.

Multiple Sclerosis Wellness Research at Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center’s research program integrates clinical practice and research endeavors. Led by Deborah Backus, PT, Ph.D., FACRM, this integrated team of physical and occupational therapists, exercise specialists, physicians and collaborators from various related fields and institutions seeks to answer meaningful questions that can be translated into clinical practice. 

Our collaborators are a major strength of the MS research program at Shepherd Center. They are:

  • Abiodun Akintuwan, Ph.D., MPH, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, Ga.
  • Ilse Baert, Ph.D., and Peter Feys, Ph.D., Universiteit Hasselt, Biomedical Research Institute, Belgium
  • James Krause, Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.
  • Kevin McCully, Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
  • Laura Rice, Ph.D., MPT, ATP, and Jacob Sosnoff, Ph.D., University of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
  • Manning Sabatier, Ph.D., Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.

Read about ongoing research projects here.