Sharon Morgans and Retha Welding saw a need for continuing support for people living with persistent pain. Their aim was to provide a church based service where people could continue with their rehabilitation following long-term injury or life changing illness. The aim of the project was to empower people to increase participation in activities with family, friends, local communities and work. Secondary objectives were to manage pain and reduce isolation.
An exercise and art class were set up. The service included education days covering topics relating to pain experience, sleep, and nutrition. Participants were assessed prior to attending and assigned to one of 2 classes. As part of the assessment an Orebro questionnaire was completed and in some cases other pain related questionnaires. Between classes there was a break for refreshments and conversation. In addition time was also allocated for treatment sessions if symptoms had changed or a new problem had arisen. Participants were encouraged to attend for 12 weeks and goals were set. Questionnaires were repeated between 3 and 6 months and participant feedback forms were given out at the end of each term.
Results: Data collected covers 26 participants who attended for a 6-month period. Participant Feedback has demonstrated that the project is achieving its aims. 100% of participants reported benefit from attending the group, 85% of participants reported feeling more confident generally and having more resilience in managing their pain, 36% reported feeling less isolated. 4 participants returned to work either part time or full time. 18/26 participants showed a significant improvement in the Orebro score. From the Art class an exhibition was set up in the local area and a book published.
Conclusion(s): The project has met its objectives. Many participants have attended longer than the initial 12 weeks and the longer they have attended the more they benefitted. It has been rewarding and educational for the therapists involved as the longer you are working with the group you realise how important it is to have support long enough to enable participants to reach their full potential.
Cost and savings
No further information.
We are already getting referrals from GPs. We see a future where hospital programmes could liaise with community projects such as this so that patients have continuing support following hospital treatments. The project is growing and has recently set up a psychology led counselling group exploring fear and anxiety, and other types of group therapy are being planned. All this could reduce the pressure on the NHS and provide additional support to programmes already in place.
Top three learning points
No further information.
The project has been sustained through volunteering and funding from:
Ealing Social services
The Deanery Mission Fund
The Church Urban fund