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A programme to empower people to manage their musculoskeletal conditions has expanded to Carnforth

12 December 2019

A programme aimed at people over 45 years old with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis (chronic joint pain) of the hip and/or knee and who are capable of independent exercise has expanded to Carnforth.

Ten people have been attending Enabling Self-Management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise (ESCAPE-pain) at Carnforth Clinic since October 2019 and initial feedback has been positive. The sessions have already been a success in Barrow with 25 people attending.

People attend 12 one-hour sessions, twice a week, over a six week period. The sessions involve a 15-minute talk which includes educational self-management and physical and psychosocial coping strategies of managing persistent joint pain, followed by a 45-minute exercise programme individualised for each person.

Evelyn Elkington, of Carnforth, who has osteoarthritis of the knee, said: “We are all an active bunch and had hobbies such as tennis and running before we started with our symptoms. The programme has really helped me to think about what I can do in terms of exercise and given me that confidence back. I still go walking and running and try to keep myself active.”

Graham Sharples, of Bolton-Le-Sands, near Lancaster, said: “I was suffering from tightness in my knee when I was driving. Although the pain has not completely gone, the exercises have been helping me to manage my symptoms.”

Long-term benefits of the programme include:

  • Patients growing in confidence to self-manage their condition, which can reduce future contacts with the GP or physiotherapist
  • Self–management can help delay or reduce the need for surgery or repeat prescriptions
  • Exercise can help to manage other co-morbidities such as diabetes.

Leanne Eastwood, Senior Physiotherapist, who leads the Carnforth programme, said: “The sessions are a great way for people to find out more about self-managing pain. The initial feedback from attendees has been really good so far.”

Currently, GPs and other Healthcare Professionals refer people to the physiotherapy service for assessment and the physiotherapist identifies appropriate people to refer onto for the ESCAPE-pain programme. In the future, the programme will be extended across community venues to include other therapists and fitness instructors. A self-referral option for people with hip or knee arthritis will also be in available.

This new way of working is another example of Bay Health and Care Partners working together more effectively to provide better care in the community, which will keep people across Morecambe Bay healthier and at home for longer without having to come into hospital.