Back in the early stages of the project when we were looking at the ups and downs of finding local support using the web, arthritis was one of the conditions that we focused on. It was difficult to find stuff online and I remember ending up having to call someone 50 miles away to find out about a class that was happening a mile from the front door.
Today is World Arthritis Day which, among other things, aims to ‘…ensure all people with arthritis and their caregivers are aware of the vast support network available to them’, so I thought I’d take another look for self management resources for those living with arthritis in Scotland. Has it become any easier to find local activities and resources on the web?
A quick check on Google reminds me that Arthritis Care have an extensive range of courses and workshops around Scotland, including Challenging Arthritis and the Joint Potential programme, which is open to anyone living in Scotland, aged 16-25, with any form of arthritis.
After a little more searching I found a list of groups set up to support people with Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis. The founder Jean Miller writes that after years of suffering from PMR & GCA and searching unsuccessfully on the web and elsewhere for help, support and information, she set up a support group in Tayside. Similarly, a small group of people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (inflammation in and around the joints in people who also have psoriasis) set up their own support network which has now grown into Psoriasis Scotland Arthritis Link Volunteers (PSALV) which was featured at the LTCAS showcase event last week. They’ve developed a self management course specifically for this set of conditions.
And whilst condition-specific support is important, there are some skills that are useful for the management of many conditions. The Pain Association Scotland provides self management training for people with chronic pain and they hold regular events and meetings throughout Scotland.
So, there are a good number of resources out there but finding something that is near enough to be helpful might be a challenge. My searches didn’t tell me about the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Resource Centre at the Woolmanhill Hospital in Aberdeen although maybe searching using ‘Arthritis support Aberdeen’ would get a little closer. However, the excellent Grampian Care Data tells me all about the Centre’s advice line and drop-in facility both of which provide information on arthritis, rheumatology conditions and osteoporosis and related care management. But then I had to know about Grampian Care Data, go to their site and search their database.
We know that there’s much more arthritis-related support out there but it takes a good deal of energy and persistence to find it. The ALISS Engine hopes to gather all of these, and more, into one place and make it openly available to reduce the time it takes to find the support that’s needed.