Today is Thursday 17th August 2017.

Self Management

One of the keys of self-management, managing your own condition, is being aware of options from diet, rest, relaxation, continuing with as much activity as you are able to manage, through to communicating with your medical professional and everything in between. All may be essential to your well-being and recovery.

On the NHS Choices website under Polymyalgia Rheumatica they say 'If you have pain and stiffness that lasts longer than a week, you should see your GP so the cause can be investigated'. Our members would agree, never assume that the pain and stiffness is just you getting older - there is nothing in the rule book that says we should have pain and stiffness as the years progress.

 

Building a trusting relationship with your GP, pharmacist, consultant, rheumatology nurse and others must feature highly so any decisions you make that will affect your treatment should be made with them. In this section we will try and bring you articles and experiences which will help you make the best choices.


PERSON-CENTRED CARE: A NATIONAL CONVERSATION

Following on from the National Conversations event on a healthier Scotland, the Scottish Government are keen to find out what you would like to know about the next stage of this conversation.  Government have released the interim findings and a full report.  


SCOTTISH HEALTH COUNCIL (Our Voice)

Our Voice is based on a vision where people who use health and care services, carers and the public will be enabled to engage purposefully with health and social care providers to continuously improve and transform services. People will be provided with feedback on the impact of their engagement, or a demonstration of how their views have been considered.

If you are interested in becomeing involved, please follow THIS LINK.


RESOURCES

NHS Education for Scotland have produced a number of booklets to cover various aspects of living with long-term conditions.  One of our members thought that they may be of value. Click on THIS LINK to take you to the relevant page and scroll to the bottom for Patient Handouts or to go direct to the one dealing with pain CLICK HERE.

The term “medically unexplained symptoms” is used to describe a set of persistent physical symptoms (e.g. chest pain, dizziness, back pain) for which, after extensive investigation, there is no obvious underlying cause or diagnosis.

For those with persistent physical symptoms, the journey from symptom development to clear understanding and evidence-based treatment can be an arduous one. In an attempt to exclude more concerning underlying conditions, GPs often undertake a range of medical assessments and interventions. While necessary, these can cause patients to develop:

  • unwanted psychological and physical side effects, adding to distress and disability
  • beliefs about the nature and seriousness of their condition,
  • Additional pain, fatigue and other symptoms due to pharmacological interventions.

In the absence of a clear cause or diagnosis despite persisting symptoms, patients can become increasingly distressed, while fear of what may be generating symptoms often leads to avoidance of daily activities. Further investigations may also place the patient at risk of harm, for instance, due to infection from exploratory operations, and exceeding safe doses of radiation.


EXERCISE

When you are in pain, the last thing you want to think about is exercise, yet continuing with as much activity as you are able to manage is essential to your well-being and recovery.

If your medical practitioner approves, the NHS has a Fitness Studio page which links to various videos that you might find helpful?

None of us (probably) would classify ourselves as 'older people' but there are some very gentle suggestions on their Exercises for older people  page "Keeping active into older age is the key to staying fit, mobile and independent. This guide provides step-by-step instructions for exercises focusing on strength, flexibility and balance, with a set of sitting exercises to get you started".


If you follow this link (My Conditions, My Terms, My Life) you will find the Alliance's description of what it means or you can just watch their short YouTube film that includes a professional's perspective.


We also think you might be interested in Scottish Government Policy - even get involved if you can - so will provide signposts where appropriate.

You may already be aware of the Integration of Health and Social Care, which is the Scottish Government's ambitious programme of reform to improve services for people who use health and social care services. Integration will ensure that health and social care provision across Scotland is joined-up and seamless, especially for people with long term conditions and disabilities, many of whom are older people. All integration arrangements as set out in the Act and in the Orders and Regulations, must be in place by 1 April 2016.

Each authority is managing it in a way that is appropriate for them but to see the overall time-line please click HERE 


Would you like to know more about patient focus and public involvement in your local Health Authority? Please follow the links in the next sentence.

Contact your NHS Board to find out how you can become involved in influencing the development of your local health services, for example, by becoming a Public Partnership Forum member. 


If you have anything you would like to see or have seen and would like to share, please email info.scotland@pmrandgca.org.uk and we will take your views into consideration because this website is for you.


In case you are wanting a little escape - here is a photo in the Highlands. Take five minutes and imagine yourself there (photograph copyright David A Kirk)