We are taking control together
Until we find a cure for arthritis, living with this disease will continue to be a lifelong challenge that nobody should have to go through alone.
Although it is a serious chronic disease, by understanding it and the effects it can have, and knowing about the treatments available, a person can take control of their arthritis.
We call this ethos ‘self-management’ and it is at the foundation of every aspect of our education and support programmes.
Empowering to live well
Living Well with Arthritis, our self-management programme, is proven to reduce the pain and fatigue of arthritis so you can once again lead a full and active life. Last year, we delivered a record number of 40 self-management courses around the country with a total of 620 people taking part. Since we introduced these courses in 2006, more than 4,000 people with arthritis have reaped the benefit.
So what exactly is self-management? Put simply, self-management is about knowing and using tips and techniques to help you live as full a life as possible. Our six-week Living Well with Arthritis covers a range of areas such as dealing with pain, fatigue, diet, exercise, negative emotions and medication.
The programme has been extremely successful. In an evaluation conducted by Arthritis Ireland over three years, participants experienced major improvements across a wide range of areas.
As well reducing pain, people reported less fatigue and improvements to how they manage their arthritis. They take regular exercise and have increased their knowledge of their condition.
The cost to Arthritis Ireland of delivering the programme works out at €60 per person but, in turn, healthcare system costs are reduced. In our study, patients reported a 25% reduction in visits to GPs, fewer emergency department visits, fewer visits to the hospital clinic and fewer overnight hospital stays. In fact, over the last seven years, every €1 spent on our self-management programme has resulted in a €4 saving for the HSE.
The programme is supported by an annual HSE grant and funds raised through the Arthritis Ireland branch network.
Living Well with Arthritis Online
Arthritis Ireland understands that not everybody approaches learning in the same way. That is why we have developed the Living Well with Arthritis Online course. It brings the essential tools and information of self-management directly to your computer. The programme, which contains both video lessons and materials you can read, will take you only a few hours to complete. It is also a great refresher, with the most up to date information, for those who have completed the community based course.
Breaking the Pain Cycle
For people seeking a taste of what a self-management course has to offer, our half day Breaking the Pain Cycle workshop is designed to help you understand your pain and identify ways to manage your arthritis better by developing a personal pain management plan.
Informing to enlighten
Gathering knowledge and learning about your arthritis puts you in a position of control. Becoming an expert on arthritis, its symptoms, the treatments available and how it can affect your life is the first step toward becoming a good self-manager.
In 2015, we reached a total of almost 90,000 people with booklet orders and downloads and more than 140,000 people through our website.
No matter what age you are or where you live, we try to make the information you need accessible to you. We provide information on a wide variety of issues and through a range of different channels, including our website, information booklets in rheumatology clinics, through our helpline and at events in local communities.
Listening to comfort
As well as providing information, services such as the National Helpline also provide callers with vital emotional support. The helpline volunteers, who are all living with arthritis, are there to listen, no matter how big or small the issue. In 2015, they spent a total of 300 hours on the phone helping and supporting over 1,950 people living with arthritis. But it’s not just about the number of calls. Calls often last for more than half an hour as many callers require significant time to discuss the issues they are facing.
Every day our helpline volunteers take calls on a whole range of topics, from the more straightforward disease and treatment information requests to the more complex distress calls.
Call our helpline today on 1890 252 846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Motivating to get moving
A crucial part of being a good self-manager is taking regular exercise. As well as reducing the pain and inflammation of arthritis, being active improves joint support and lubrication, helps with weight control and has many other health benefits.
But it’s not always easy to get active, especially when you have arthritis. That is why we have a full programme to help you create and maintain a routine specially tailored to the needs of people with arthritis.
Our network of 22 walking groups around the country is our main support service in physical activity. In 2015 our walking groups motivated almost 200 people with arthritis to get walking across the country.
The programme also includes information on our website and our ‘Physical Activity and Arthritis’ booklet, other supports services, like hydrotherapy and seated exercise classes, and our tried and tested Take Control with Exercise book and DVD.