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Self-managing chronic pain with the Joint Pain Advisor

Fay Sibley, Senior Project Manager for the musculoskeletal theme, writes about how the Health Innovation Network’s Joint Pain Advisor helps those with osteoarthritis.

The increasing burden of an ageing population on NHS services is well documented. GPs are struggling to cope with the ever increasing demand on services; lacking both capacity and expertise to support people to change their behaviour and adopt healthier lifestyles.

Patients with long term conditions, such as osteoarthritis (OA) often tell us they feel GPs are unable to help, at best they are prescribed palliative medication which they tell us they don’t like to take and at worst they are told it is just part of “getting older”. Despite this patients are unsure of where else to turn for advice and support.

Self-management is a hot topic in healthcare at the moment, often heralded as the answer to some of the NHS’s most complex problems. But does it really work?

At the Health Innovation Network, we have been focusing on helping people to self-manage their chronic joint pain and have piloted a new approach to managing osteoarthritis (OA) in Primary Care – the Joint Pain Advisor.

The Joint Pain Advisor takes the form of up to four 30 minute face-to-face consultations between the advisors and people with hip or knee OA. People attend an assessment where they discuss their lifestyle, challenges and personal goals and then jointly develop a personalised care plan that gives tailored advice and support based on NICE guidelines for the management of OA. They are then invited to attend reviews after three weeks, six to eight weeks and six months to access further tailored support and advice.

To date over 500 patients have used this service and reported less pain, better function and higher activity levels. A high satisfaction rate was achieved which included reduced BMI, body weight and waist circumference and has led to fewer GP consultations, investigations and onward referrals.

Have a look at what some of the 500 participants who have undertaken the programme say, in our Joint Pain Advisor film.

In our original study we used physiotherapists as Joint Pain Advisors but recently we have worked with health trainers and coaches. We think that the Joint Pain Advisor could significantly reduce the cost of helping people with chronic joint pain.

If you would like to find out more about Joint Pain Advisor, join the webinar we are holding on Friday 24 March. To register for the webinar please click on the link below. Once you have registered you will be sent a calendar invite containing details on how to join. Please note there are limited spaces for this webinar so attendees will have to register on a first come first served basis.

Register

You can also contact us at the Health Innovation Network, by emailing Fay at fay.sibley@nhs.net.