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    You are here : Home » Get Involved » MSRC Interactive » Help, Advice and Inspiration from people with MS » What Has Helped You » The Expert Patients Programme

    The Expert Patients Programme

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    Expert Patient Programme

    If you live with a long-term illness, why not take control by becoming an Expert Patient. The Expert Patients Programme is a self-management course giving people the confidence, skills and knowledge to manage their condition better and be more in control of their lives.

    What is an Expert Patient?
    Expert patients are people living with a long-term health condition, who are able to take more control over their health by understanding and managing their conditions, leading to an improved quality of life.

    Benefits of becoming an Expert Patient

    Expert patients......

    • Feel confident and in control of their lives
    • Aim to manage their condition and its treatment in partnership with health care professionals
    • Communicate effectively with professionals and are willing to share responsibility on treatment
    • Are realistic about the impact of their disease on themselves and their family
    • Use their skills and knowledge to lead full lives.

    In response to Sue's Negative Experience
    It sounds like Sue had a difficult experience with the the Expert Patients Programme.  This is a shame as I know many people who live with MS who have benefited a great deal from attending an Expert Patients Programme course.

    In 1999, I attended a similar course in Northampton (same course, but not Expert Patients because this only came into existence in 2002) and then went on to train as a course tutor with The Expert Patients Programme (EPP) in early 2003. This was the time I really started to understand self management and since training as a tutor, my life has completely changed for the better.  

    Yes the course delivered by EPP was designed by an American nurse from Stanford University but the course is universal and has been adapted for a UK audience.  I remember when I first attended the course, I thought there was nothing I didn’t know, that I was already self managing myself…how wrong I was.  I now know that even as an expert self-manager, I will continue to learn every day.
    I am not sure where your course was held but all EPPCIC tutors go through rigorous training before delivering a course and because they have been course attendees prior to becoming a tutor they understand that patronising  people has hugely detrimental effects on learning.   
    One of the concepts that the EPP course has taught me is that the mind is like parachute and that it works best when it is open.
    EPPCIC courses may not be for everyone, but for many people living with all sorts of long-term conditions, the course is often the beginning of a positive change for the better.
    Lynne, Yorkshire.

    Ann's positive experience of the Expert Patients Programme
    The Expert Patient Programme is an excellent online scheme to help people who have chronic long-term illnesses. You spend 2˝ hours per week for six weeks meeting online as a group of approx 20 people and you discuss a variety of subjects such as exercise, pain management, fatigue, difficult emotions, celebrations, and how to handle doctor’s appointments, etc.

    You are given a course handbook. This gives you all the information you will cover in the six weeks including exercises and all the emotions you may experience over that time. You can see how negative you have probably become and how to put things right; in short, how to manage your disease.

    Each week you have to set yourself a small goal you want to achieve, in my case it was to improve my mobility, and I did this by small steps each week by getting out and walking (with the aid of crutches). Just around the garden at first because I have lost a lot of confidence, but as the weeks passed by this increased to walking over to the shops and back, approx 200 yards. Every week you are given a lot of encouragement and support by your fellow course members and the facilitators.

    During week 5 of the course I came down with a nasty cold and consequently my physical abilities rapidly dwindled. The good thing about the course is that you don’t slip back to your bad old ways; you set yourself goals again and off you go.

    My ultimate aim at the moment is to walk a quarter of a mile – something I now believe quite achievable, but I would not have even considered it two months ago.

    All in all a very well spent six weeks.


    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC)

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