In line with the NICE clinical guidelines, it is important to improve patients understanding of rheumatoid arthritis and its management. This is achieved through educational activities and self-management programmes to enable patients to get the best from their medication, learn how to better manage disease flares, pain and fatigue, and improve their overall quality of life. It is essential that the offer of education and self-management activities is not a ‘one off’, but is repeated throughout the course of the disease to ensure that people with rheumatoid arthritis have the opportunity to participate at a time, individually, that will support them to derive the greatest benefit.
Here in North Devon we run a 7 week programme, organised by the Occupational Therapy Department that run for 2.5hrs each week. The topics we cover are:
1. How arthritis affects the body
2. Posture, body mechanics, rest and exercise
3. Pain management
4. You and your medicine
5. Diet and arthritis & arthritis and feet
6. Sleep and fatigue management
7. Looking after your joints
Referrals to the Patient Education Group are made via Occupational Therapy. Ask your doctor or specialist nurse for more information.