Supported self-management

For people living with rheumatoid arthritis (and other long-term conditions), an important aspect of care is the ability to understand the disease and deal with the practical, physical and psychological impacts that come along with it. Whilst medications to treat RA are an essential component of care, so is giving people the tools and sign-posting them to good sources of support to enable them to learn how to self-manage their condition.

There is a great deal of evidence to show that being a good self-manager and being knowledgeable about your disease can improve your long-term outcomes and help you to experience a better quality of life.

Find out, here in this section, about all the great NRAS self-management educational and supportive resources and services that are available to help you!

Hear from NRAS National Patient Champion, Ailsa Bosworth MBE, why learning about your RA and how to become good at self-managing your disease, with the right support at the right time, is so important. Ailsa explains what supported self-management is all about and how SMILE, launched on 17 September 2021, can help you and what she does to keep herself as well as possible.

The importance of Self-management

SMILE-RA (Self-Management Individualised Learning Environment)

NRAS proudly launched their new e-learning programme – SMILE-RA – during RA Awareness Week 2021. SMILE is a unique and engaging e-learning experience for people with RA who want to learn more about RA, its treatments and how to become good at self-managing, and their families who want to understand how best to support their loved one. It will also be a useful resource for health professionals, new into rheumatology, who want to learn more about this complex autoimmune disease, how it is managed and the importance of self-management for their patients.

This content is not currently optimised for use on mobile platforms, please access via a computer or laptop. This is due to significant amounts of changes from 3rd party suppliers which our developer is working hard to accommodate. We hope to be able to optimise SMILE-RA for use on mobile and ipad platforms in the coming weeks.

To future-proof the modules available at launch, we signpost within some of the modules to modules not yet constructed. Please be aware of this but also be reassured that modules referred to yet currently unavailable, will be coming in the future, eg: Managing Fatigue, Work, Sleep disturbance etc. and information on these topics can be obtained in other ways/formats from NRAS through our many publications and extensive information on the website.

EULAR recommendations

In June 2021, EULAR published “Recommendations for the implementation of self-management strategies in patients with inflammatory arthritis” and a second paper associated with this work entitled: “Effectiveness of self-management interventions in inflammatory arthritis: a systematic review informing the 2021 EULAR recommendations for the implementation of self-management strategies in patients with inflammatory arthritis”.

Read EULAR papers

The Taskforce which produced these recommendations was lead by Joint Convenors: Ailsa Bosworth (NRAS) and Dr. Elena Nikiphorou (King’s College Hospital, London) and you can read more about this work in the research area on the NRAS website. The timing of these two publications is relevant to the launch of SMILE as they reinforce the importance of health professionals incorporating self-management strategies into routine clinical care to provide a more tailored and holistic approach to care than a clinical medical management model of care.

New2RA Right Start

Right Start is a service for people who are newly or recently (within last 6-12 months) diagnosed. You can ask your health professional to make an online referral to NRAS Right Start or you can self-refer by clicking below.

NRAS will provide rapid access to support and information to help you deal with your diagnosis and manage your condition in 4 easy steps. On receipt of your referral, a member of our team will contact you to arrange a call for up to an hour with our trained Helpline Team and explain the services, information and support we can offer you. It’s an informal, friendly chat with a trained expert.

Click here to see what Eddie and Carol who have experienced Right Start think of this service.

Please ask your rheumatology team to refer you to this service via the refer a patient link. At this time only a healthcare professional can refer you to this service.

Living with RA

Living with RA is a service for people who having been living with RA for some time. You can ask your health professional to make an online referral to NRAS Living with RA.

NRAS will provide rapid access to support and information to help you deal with your condition, particularly at times when things may be changing. For example, you may be moving onto a new drug and want to speak to someone else who is using this treatment. You might be thinking about starting a family or having to contemplate surgery. Whatever the issue, we can help with the right information and most appropriate type of support. On receipt of your referral, a member of our team will contact you to arrange a call for up to an hour with our trained Helpline Team and explain the services, information and support we can offer you. It’s an informal, friendly chat with a trained expert.

Please ask your rheumatology team to refer you to this service via the refer a patient link. At this time only a healthcare professional can refer you to this service.

G.O. Scotland

G.O. Scotland is a 8 week Zoom-based self-management programme which has been co-developed with NRAS and Fife Health and Social Care Partnership and is based on the NRAS original face to face, group based, 6 week self-management programme RASMP (RA Self-Management Programme). Fife and Glasgow have pioneered RASMP in the past but the changing landscape in regard to the difficulties of running face to face programmes (affordability, timing for working/non working people and geographical barriers, not to mention the pandemic!) led to this innovative, new, digital offering in Scotland. A first pilot ran successfully in early 2021 and a second pilot with a wider geographical spread of participants is scheduled for summer 2021. We hope to be able to offer this programme across Scotland in due course. For more information or to enter your name onto a waiting list, please contact enquiries@nras.org.uk Please note this programme is only available to people with RA in Scotland.

Other Self-management resources you can explore on the NRAS website include:

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