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.

Right Start

Right Start supports people living with RA to understand their diagnosis and how it is likely to affect them. Getting the right support can help people to make adjustments to behaviour, lifestyle and health beliefs and understand why supported self-management is important and how to make those important first steps to managing their disease effectively.

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.

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.

Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU)

You may have heard about a new kind of outpatient follow up pathway called ‘Patient Initiated Follow Up’, PIFU for short, or there are other ways of describing this kind of follow up such as ‘Direct Access’ or ‘Patient Initiated Return’ (PIR for short). These new pathways which put the patient in control of when they see their team rather than having automatic ‘fixed’ appointments given by your rheumatology team every 6 or 9 months or so, are starting to be more widely introduced in rheumatology and all other specialties.

Read more

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

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

NRAS in 2023

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