Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance
This is a category taken from the full feed of Musculoskeletal and Arthritis news provided by ARMA's members.
  • The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) is the umbrella body for the arthritis and musculoskeletal community in the UK, and our mission is to transform the quality of life of people with musculoskeletal conditions. We have 40 member organisations ranging from specialised support groups for rare diseases to major research charities and national professional bodies.

Author Archive

Time is running out to become a Champion of Musculoskeletal Care. The deadline for this unique opportunity is 17 June 2018.

Arthritis Research UK, together with Ashridge Executive Education, have created a bespoke leadership initiative with the aim of driving forward tangible improvements in MSK services within the local health systems of each Champion.

We are looking for individuals who are involved in the design, commissioning and/or delivery of musculoskeletal care, including front-line clinicians, public health practitioners, commissioners and service managers.

The Programme:
Duration of 18-20 months and involves:

  • 5 x residential learning modules at Ashridge Executive Education.
  • Development and delivery of a work-based MSK service improvement project.
  • 4 x Action Learning Sets.
  • Access to Virtual Ashridge – an online learning tool to complement your learning.
  • Ongoing support and connection with Arthritis Research UK and your fellow Champions.
  • Support from a network of mentors; eminent leaders within the MSK sector.
  • Support from a panel of patient insight partners.

Arthritis Research UK are committed to representing the communities within the system that we aim to affect, and so the cohorts of champions will be multidisciplinary and diverse and instead of hierarchical position, we will focus on the potential to lead, adapt to change and deliver impact.

The deadline for applications is 17 June 2018. The interviews will take place between 16 – 23 July, and the programme starts in October 2018.

To find out more, please visit the MSK Champion page.

In March, Dame Carol Black presented a TED Talk on retirement, in which she asked: are we doomed to spend the 30 or 40 years in bed – or could retirement be the start of a new chapter?

Watch the video here on Youtube.

EMEUNET (the Emerging Eular NETwork) and the EULAR School of Rheumatology have launched an online educational initiative called Twitter Journal Club, facilitated by experienced rheumatologists. The aim is to allow Twitter users to participate in a discussion with colleagues around the world about recent key papers in rheumatology.

Each month details of the article selected for the Journal Club as well as the EMEUNET paper of the month will be available for download on our the EMEUNET websiteYou can also have a look at the previous Journal Club sessions.

Survey: Social Media for health-related purposes

You are invited to participate in a research study titled “Understanding how people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) use social media for health-related purposes.”  This study is being undertaken by a team of international researchers and patient research partners.

Social media has been gaining increasing momentum in recent years and is used by different groups to stay up to date or exchange information. Social media tools are easily accessible and independent of geographical location. Therefore, social media also provides people with chronic conditions, such as rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), with new opportunities to identify information about their condition(s) and treatment(s), as well as the ability to connect with other patients, carers, patient organisations and healthcare professionals. However, despite the premise of social media for people with RMDs, it is less clear how and why people with RMDs use social media in relation to their health and wellbeing.

You can read the project summary here [in PDF] and take part in the survey via this link.

 

The new NHS Workforce Health and Wellbeing Framework is now available. This is the result of two years’ work with NHS organisations, NHS Employers, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and a range of voluntary sector and government partners. The NHSE appreciate the MSK-specific expertise that we have shared with them on behalf of ARMA.

The Framework will support NHS organisations through an easy-to-use diagnostic tool and a comprehensive range of guidance against fourteen core organisational enablers and health interventions proven to improve staff health and wellbeing. This will enable NHS organisations to develop comprehensive health and wellbeing plans and evaluate improvement over time. 

The NHS Workforce Health and Wellbeing Framework is a diagnostic tool to be used in a flexible way to meet the needs of your organisation. You can use these resources in total or in part to start, revise or re-launch a programme. The framework is divided into two sections, organisational enablers and health interventions.

In May 2018, The European League Against Rheumatism published a set of recommendations designed to help health professionals implement approaches to pain management in inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis patients. The aim is to reduce pain and the burden on the individual and society.

Pain is the predominant symptom for people with inflammatory arthritis (IA) and osteoarthritis (OA), mandating the development of new, evidence-based EULAR Recommendations for the health professional’s approach to pain management in inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The target users of these recommendations are health professionals in the field of rheumatology, including rheumatologists. Prompt and knowledgeable pain management support can reduce pain, increase functioning and well-being, and reduce individual and societal costs. Practitioners in all healthcare settings should therefore have the knowledge and skills required to help people with IA and OA to better manage their pain; rheumatology health professionals are ideally placed to provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and patient-centred care.

Click on the image to see it full size,
or click here to download this flow chart as PDF.

Pain management typically includes education. Based on the needs of the patient, education is complemented by physical activity and exercise; aids and assistive devices; psychological and social interventions; sleep hygiene education; weight management; pharmacological and joint-specific treatment options; and interdisciplinary pain management. Underpinned by available systematic reviews and meta-analyses, these recommendations enable health professionals to provide knowledgeable pain management support for people with IA and OA. 

A multidisciplinary task force including patient representatives conducted a systematic literature review to evaluate evidence regarding effects on pain of multiple treatment modalities. The task force, which included eighteen members from twelve countries, consisted of patient representatives, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, rheumatologists, a general practitioner, an occupational therapist, a clinical epidemiologist, and a research fellow. 

From 2,914 studies initially identified, 186 met inclusion criteria. Based on the reviewed studies and expert opinion, the task force emphasised the importance for the health professional to adopt a patient-centred framework within a biopsychosocial perspective, to have sufficient knowledge of IA and OA pathogenesis, and to be able to differentiate localised and generalised pain. The assessment of patient needs, preferences and priorities; pain characteristics; previous and ongoing pain treatments; inflammation and joint damage; and psychological and other pain-related factors were deemed important. 

Innovation, transformation, improvement; everyone is trying to change health services for the better from NHS England to ARMA and each of our members, from the top and the centre to the local and the frontline.

There is also a lot being written about this. Last month’s guest blog looked at a report from the innovation unit with the Health Foundation on spread of innovation in the NHS. This month I’ve been reading a report from the Kings Fund on transformation. The report, or at least the summary, is worth a read; even though the four examples are not MSK-related, the key messages are very relevant.

Transformation is about “shifting mindsets, changing relationships and re-distributing power”. It’s about building relationships, learning together and connecting. It’s about collaborating and co-creating, and for me that means with patients as well as with all parts of the health and care system. A lot of ARMA’s work is about supporting and enabling this kind of connection. Our MSK Knowledge Hub is taking off, with new resources being submitted almost daily. Discussions have begun on the forum and the more you use it, the more useful it will be.

Our MSK Networks project aims to link people locally and to support and inform those working on service improvement. Combined with the hub it aims to help join up improvement activities locally and support innovation and change. Anyone working on MSK improvement can join.

The Kings Fund report also talks about the importance of leadership and collective leadership skills. I am excited at the new MSK Champions programme from Arthritis Research UK to support MSK leaders and influencers. It looks like a programme that will be really valuable to the people who take part and to their local MSK services. There’s still just time to apply as the closing date is 17 June.

Transformational change, the Kings Fund concludes, needs our collective focus. Let’s harness the collective focus of the MSK community and see what we can achieve together.

The Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health is delighted to inform you about the paper “Reducing the global burden of musculoskeletal conditions” published online in the WHO Bulletin, May 2018.

International experts, working with The Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health, are calling for global action from health authorities to address the huge burden of musculoskeletal conditions, which affect about one in three people worldwide, including younger people.

You can view the “Reducing the global burden of musculoskeletal conditionspaper here.

The paper examines the global impact of more than 150 musculoskeletal conditions, including back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fractures, and set three priorities for global action.

by Dr Steven Boorman CBE, Director of Employee Health, Empactis,
Chair of the Council for Work and Health

As I head towards the milestone later this year of passing my thirtieth year in occupational health, I find myself optimistic mixed with the “glass half empty” of recognising that the same barriers remain in place: barriers to those who want to work with long term conditions. Over my career I have worked regularly with ARMA members and experts, and I have personal experience of working with a MSK condition.

The recent “Improving Lives” consultation and subsequent Government Strategy paper highlighted that since 2013, 400000 more people have become disabled (rising to over 7 million across the UK) and 3.7 million people have a musculoskeletal disorder, yet only 1.7 million of these are employed.

For people of working age without a disability the employment rate is around 80% but for those with disabling conditions the figure is 46%.

Let’s be clear, I do understand that for some people employment is not feasible. However, we do know that, providing it is good work, work does benefit your health. The social, financial and other benefits of work activities can improve many conditions, including many MSK conditions, reducing disability and frequency of recurrence or exacerbation. My profession, occupational health, isn’t about trying to force those that can’t to work, to do so risks harm and isn’t good for employers or employees! On the contrary it is about helping those that want to work to match their health conditions to the work available … which is easy to say, but can be challenging, particularly if a condition such as a MSK disorder has symptoms that vary over time and may be unpredictable in its impacts.

But my reflection here is that whilst we know such conditions are painfully common, we haven’t yet managed to adapt our health, social care and employment practices to adequately help those that want to be in work to be there.

Let’s start with sickness certification. It’s not always easy to see a GP, and whilst conceptually the idea of changing a sick note to now include an option to advise an employer about potential work adjustments is a good one, the reality is that many GPs lack the training or the time to adequately explore options during a short clinical consultation. My time spent working to improve disability assessment also taught me how difficult it is to adequately consider changing function with time and so, in the mistaken belief that it’s the safest option, often it’s easier to say “unfit for work”.

Annually 300,000 people become sick and lose their jobs and come in to the benefits system, many with MSK, often also associated with other conditions. Benefits assessments focus on the information collected on the day and don’t consider the barriers or practical difficulties that prevent work. If things improve to enable a consideration of returning to work, the risk may be loss of benefits and a long wait and further assessments to get them back, and the challenge of finding employers (even given the requirements of Equality legislation) willing to adapt and match work to physical needs can also be hard.

Occupational health advice may help, but “Improving Lives” shows clearly that it is not there for many – many, particularly smaller, employers have limited knowledge or access to OH and to be brutally honest the quality and experience of OH providers to cope with complex fluctuating conditions can be poor. Again, Occupational Health assessments are often undertaken at a point in time and whilst they will include consideration of symptoms and disability changing, flexible working adjustments can be hard to create.

At its simplest, what’s needed are mechanisms to enable a person who wants to work with a long term and changing medical problem to be able to interact with their employer / manager without delay and with the capability to change work to match needs at the time. Again, I recognise that this isn’t always feasible or practicable, but now working for a technology firm, I realise that real-time solutions are achievable, but under-utilised. Given the right and timely information most employers want to support their employees to enable work, but poor communication and understanding often makes this difficult.

Eric Topol, the American Cardiologist and technology pioneer, criticised the medical profession for being too slow to change and adapt. I find myself today reflecting that, whilst the “Improving Lives” work rightly highlights the needs to make changes in the way we operate our health and social care systems to improve the chances for people who can to work, to make this feasible we have to make it easy – easy for employers to know what’s needed and how to meet those needs; easy for the employee to understand and communicate those needs; and easy for the care systems to support needs as they change.

I hope it doesn’t take another thirty years for this to happen, and as I learn more about what changing technology can do, I am optimistic that it won’t!

Arthritis Action will be holding a new two-day Self-Management Event on 2-3 July 2018 between 2pm–4.30pm at Millennium Third Age Centre, 11 Cranbury Terrace, Southampton, SO14 0LH.

The aim is to help attendees take control of the symptoms of their arthritis, covering topics such as:

  • The impact of physical therapies
  • How you can best manage your pain
  • The benefits of exercise and a healthy diet
  • Ways to work in partnership with healthcare professionals

This event will be free of charge and refreshments will be provided, and is open to all.

For more information, please contact info@arthritisaction.org.uk or 020 3781 7120 and Arthritis Action will be able to provide you with further details.

Alternatively, please register via this Eventbrite link.

June 4 – 8 2018 is Dietitians Week 2018, where the British Dietetic Association and its members and allies celebrate the work of dietitians. This year’s theme is “Dietitians Do Prevention”, which highlights the important role that dietitians have to play in prevention and public health.

We know nutrition and hydration underpin so much of our health and getting it right can reduce the impact of illness, aid recovery, or prevent some diseases and conditions altogether.

The theme is timely. Across the UK, prevention and public health are increasingly recognised as vital to improving health, and perhaps more critically, reducing pressures on our health and care services. It features prominently in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, in the most recent frameworks from NHS Scotland and the Northern Irish Health and Social Care Service and is embodied in the principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act. It has been made clear by everyone from Marmot to the NHS Confederation that we need to strengthen prevention and that it should be everybody’s business.

Musculoskeletal problems are one of the many conditions which can be prevented or at least alleviated with effective dietetic intervention. That might be helping people to lose weight so they place less strain on their joints or working with older people at risk of osteoporosis to ensure they get the calcium and vitamin D they need. Of course, prevention is more effective when done as part of a multidisciplinary team, and many of the examples that the BDA will be sharing throughout Dietitians Week don’t just involve dietitians, but include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and others.

Prevention takes many forms and goes by many names, and it is not just those working in public health that do it. Whether you’re having a healthy conversation or making every contact count, supporting rehabilitation or reducing hospital admissions, celebrate the way that you do prevention. We can’t let the terminology get in the way of sharing best practice or spreading good ideas. We’d love you to tell us about it as part of Dietitians Week! Get in touch via dietitiansweek@bda.uk.com

After months of scoping, National Voices has announced the launch of a Peer Support Hub.

The Hub will bring together high quality resources for providing peer support for health and wellbeing.

Find out more about the Hub or sign up to the Peer Support Hub mailing list.

 

AACP 2018 Leeds Conference

Open to all with an interest and passion for Acupuncture in Physiotherapy, this conference provides a full-day schedule packed with distinguished speakers educating you in the latest in acupuncture research and techniques.

The event takes place on Saturday 13 October 2018 at the Principal Met Hotel, Leeds.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

2018 Scotland Study Day

The Scotland Study Day sees speakers from a variety of professional backgrounds presenting on a range of acupuncture research and practice. Learn new techniques in western medical acupuncture that can be applied in your workplace the next day.

The event takes place on Saturday 3 November at the Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER