ROCKLAND, Mass. (October 25, 2018) – Embracing Carers™, the global initiative designed to increase awareness and action about the often-overlooked needs of caregivers, today announced a new collaboration with Can Do Multiple Sclerosis to fill the shortage of resources focused on the unique needs, concerns, and unmet challenges of MS Care Partners.

Under the collaboration, Can Do MS is creating online support groups and educational programs dedicated to helping caregivers understand the impact of MS-related mood and cognitive changes on relationships, communication and everyday life activities. The initiative will also support the caregiver in learning to prioritize his or her own well-being while maintaining a satisfying relationship with his or her partner receiving care.

The main components of this educational program series include:

  • Online Support Groups: Four one-hour long online support group sessions facilitated by psychologist Roz Kalb, Ph.D. will facilitate communication, shared experiences challenges and learnings among caregivers.
  • Podcast Series: Three podcast episodes led by MS experts and support partners to discuss the importance of taking care of self while increasing resilience.
  • Webinar Series: A special three-part Webinar series designed to recognize and support MS caregivers with interactive education materials on critical issues such as achieving a satisfying partnership with his or her partner receiving care, including the need for shared decision making, and intimacy.

"Across the world, many caregivers are supporting partners, family members, or other loved ones living with MS, and they often do not know where to turn for help or resources," said Terrie Livingston, Head of Patient Outcomes and Solutions at EMD Serono. "By partnering with Can Do MS, one of the leaders in providing resources for MS patients and those who care for them, we hope that we can help these caregivers support their loved ones and have fulfilling relationships while ensuring they also care for themselves."

"Caregivers are the often-unrecognized lynchpin in our health care system," Livingston continued. "It is one of the most substantial public health issues of our time, and we want to highlight their challenges while helping them get the support they need. We do this by collaborating with organizations like Can Do MS to drive visibility and create innovative opportunities for health care system integration."

"MS caregivers play a fundamental role in caring for MS patients, and it is important that we include them in our conversations about how to help those living with this disease" said Anne Gilbert, Director of Programs at Can Do MS. "We have developed an extensive library of materials and information for MS patients, and this new collaboration will produce valuable materials targeted specifically toward the caregiver community. We hope to make a difference in the lives of millions who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis around the world."

The first online support group session began in late September with more content becoming available every day. To learn more, visit https://www.cando-ms.org/multiple-sclerosis-programs/embracing-carers.

About Can Do MS
A national nonprofit organization based in Avon, Colo., Can Do MS delivers health and wellness education programs on exercise, nutrition, symptom management, and motivation to help families living with MS thrive. For more information, visit the organization's website at www.CanDo-MS.org or call 800-367-3101.

About Embracing Carers™ 
Embracing Carers™ is a global initiative led by EMD Serono, in collaboration with leading caregiver organizations around the world, designed to increase awareness, discussion, and action about the often-overlooked needs of caregivers. Given that caregivers need support and often do not know where to turn for help, Embracing Carers™ was created to fill that void.

About EMD Serono 
EMD Serono – the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada – is engaged in the discovery, research and development of medicines for patients with difficult to treat diseases. The business is committed to transforming lives by developing and delivering meaningful solutions that help address the therapeutic and support needs of individual patients. Building on a proven legacy and deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, EMD Serono is developing potential new oncology and immuno-oncology medicines while continuing to explore potential therapeutic options for diseases such as psoriasis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Today, the business has approximately 1,300 employees around the country with commercial, clinical and research operations based in the company's home state of Massachusetts.