AN innovative self-help method for multiple sclerosis patients, developed by two Poole occupational therapists, is being rolled out across the country.

Poole Hospital therapists Alison Nock and Vicky Slingsby have created a self-management programme to help patients better understand and manage extreme tiredness.

The FACETS – Fatigue: Applying cognitive behavioural and energy effectiveness techniques to lifestyle – programme, developed with Bournemouth University clinical research unit, has seen patients report a significant reduction in their fatigue.

Considerable interest has been shown in it and it is now being rolled out across the country in partnership with the MS Society which funded the research, undertaken by university researchers including research fellow Dr Sarah Thomas.

Fatigue affects the majority of people with MS and can be one of the most debilitating symptoms of the condition.

The programme helps them see tiredness as normal and enables them to use available energy more effectively as well as encouraging alternative thinking styles.

Alison said: “The programme helps people with MS understand extreme tiredness better and manage it on a day-to-day level.

“It is also beneficial for patients as they can meet others with fatigue issues. Based on information giving and discussion, it is interactive so patients can learn from each other’s experiences.”

MS patients at Poole Hospital were among the first to benefit from the programme. Research has demonstrated that 40 per cent of participants who received FACETS in addition to their routine care had improved fatigue levels compared to 19 per cent who did not receive it.

Patient Janet King, who benefited said: “I feel better able not only to understand my situation but, perhaps more importantly, deploy tools and strategies to help me cope and maintain an improved quality of life.

“The programme was well run by Alison and Vicky, who were positive, empathetic, knowledgeable and always engaging. Every session proved very informative.”

* People interested in receiving FACETS should speak to their local healthcare professional who can contact the MS Society for information about training opportunities.