As we are convinced that optimal social (re)integration is the main goal of every multidisciplinary rehabilitation program, it is obvious that themes focusing on participation are more than ever of a very high interest. It not only reflects on the individual social situation of the PwMS and his family, but also on the organisation of Medical, Psychological and Social assistance, on Rehabilitation Clinical Pathways, and on the availability and organisation of social security and community care services.

Assessment of needs of the PwMS, his family and care system is one of the cornerstones in goal setting of rehabilitation. Special attention is given to the search for the right assessment tools and outcome measures in the field of integration and participation.

The complexity of MS requires optimal exchange of information and knowledge of everyone's responsibility and role. There still is often a gap between the medical care model of the rehabilitation centre and the social care model of homecare professionals. Building bridges between these health management systems, remains an indispensable step in organising continuity of care. The definition of guidelines for good practice in this matter is a main issue of this SIG.

Employment and employability of PwMS is all over Europe an actual theme, with various multidisciplinary aspects, not in the least in the field of this SIG. Cooperation with other SIG’s involved in this theme should lead to the development of guidelines for good practice concerning job-maintenance and employability of PwMS and to select the right assessment tools, based on substantial scientific research.


We need you for our SIG!

Social integration and participation should be the concern of all disciplines who have a wider perspective of MS rehabilitation. Social workers in rehabilitation centres and in the community, medical doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, household helpers, care managers, social housing agencies,… are welcome in the future meetings of this SIG in order to promote a broader discussion forum.

We not only would like to enlarge our group in number, but also to obtain some commitment of the participants over a longer period, so that themes can be discussed in depth, resulting in finishing conclusions and finally leading to practical guidelines.

For this purpose we feel the need for more participants in our SIG. It would be interesting to create a small staff of permanent collaborators of different European centres, aside a broader attendance of participants during the RIMS-meetings. The members of the staff meet once between the RIMS-meetings to prepare the next workshop. Financial nor linguistic problems ought to be an obstacle for field workers to be involved.


Interested? Please contact





History and Background for the Establishment of the SIG

At the General Assembly in Paris in 1995 the Executive Board of RIMS proposed to create several problem orientated clinical care committees.

The purpose of these different clinical care committees was:

  • to promote participation of RIMS members around a precise topic
  • to encourage research in these domains of rehabilitation
  • to improve the management of the PwMS

From the early start of RIMS, social problems of persons with MS and their families were felt as an extremely important issue, worth the creation of a clinical care committee focusing exclusively on this domain. Special attention was drawn to vocational issues and financial problems that might occur as a result of MS. Different social security systems were compared in their specificity (limitations and opportunities).

The burden of caregivers and the organization and continuity of different care systems were also visualized as very important themes. The need for a close cooperation between social services of MS centres, MS societies and community services was highlighted.

At that time, the SIG was baptised as ‘Clinical Care Committee on Social and Vocational Services”. It was meant to be a liaison committee between social workers and vocational therapists of rehabilitation centres and community services for PwMS.


Special Interest Group on Integration and Particpation

In 2003, the clinical care committee was renamed and became the “Special Interest Group on Integration and Participation” Objectives and targets were redefined and a broader professional field (every member of a multidisciplinary team interested in this matter) was welcomed to join the meetings.