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A list of articles involving FM

Fibromyalgia Education Programme at Pinderfields Hospital

In 2006 my GP referred me to a new fibromyalgia course which had started at the old Pinderfields Hospital. I was introduced to the course leader, a lovely, cheerful and bright physiotherapist called Sally, and I attribute her and the course with helping me to begin to finally come to terms with the diagnosis I had been given many years before.

At the time of diagnosis I was advised to exercise and take the pills. I did exercise and like so many of us I joined a gym, did too much and then had a flare and took to bed. I repeated that pattern until I met Sally and was shown the correct way to exercise with Fibro. Some of her first ideas seemed a bit lame and I thought ‘What’s the point of that?’ I persevered though and so enjoyed my first session that I couldn't wait to return.

Since 2006 I have continued to follow her guidelines and so imagine my delight when after starting the Wakefield and District Fibromyalgia Support Group in May 2010, one of the first things that came to my attention was that the fibromyalgia education programme run by the wonderful Sally was still in place. Not only was the course still going it had developed and expanded to produce a wonderful course that covers graded exercise, hydrotherapy, occupational therapy and pain management. Now into the mix has come a brand new hospital with a hydro pool.

Patients are now referred to Sally and her team from a rheumatologist and occasionally from a GP. To try and avoid the situation that exists in so many places whereby patients take years to be diagnosed, rheumatologists at Pinderfields are now referring patients to the unit with a diagnosis of ‘Multiple Mechanical Problems with Sleep Disturbances.’ This means patients are often starting the course and learning management techniques whilst still undergoing tests to rule out other conditions.

With the referral in place the team assess if a patient is likely to need the full 7 week course or maybe they only need up to three sessions as developed by the team to cover pain management, pacing techniques, and self-management techniques. The patients on the 3 week programme are likely to be showing mild symptoms or have received a quick diagnosis which maybe means they are not too far lost in the system.

If a patient is showing moderate symptoms they will be invited to join the 7 week course. The criteria for this is that they can do 10 repetitions per exercise, 1 minute on the exercise bike, 10 steps on the step-up and 1 minute on the treadmill.

During week 1 Sally and the fibromyalgia nurse cover education and relaxation from the NHS choices guidelines.

During weeks 2 to 7 the students begin with a cardiovascular warm up followed with exercises in the gym and pool gradually building up. At the end of week 7 I am invited along with other support group members to talk about how we can continue their care by offering all the services of our group. The students are also asked to complete an impact questionnaire at the beginning and the end of the course to see how the course has helped them. Most participants ask, ‘Where do we go from here?’ and this is why the team at Pinderfields support our group and asked us to become involved.

Research has shown that ongoing support group intervention helps with acceptance of the condition and encourages members to keep active.

Sally says:

'The NHS Fibro programme leads directly to the support group. This move smooths the transition towards improving self-management and taking control of your life and empowering you to move forward.’

By June Chivers

 

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