AnnMarie Nelson, one of our Community Partnerships Officers, has been working closely with Open Age, a charity that promotes active lifestyles for those over 50, to help some of our customers in Hammersmith and Fulham manage their long-term health conditions.
AnnMarie has been helping Open Age deliver a six week, NHS-supported self-management course called Expert Patients Programme, which aims to provide people with the confidence and knowledge to help them take control of their long-term health conditions.
The course ran from mid-December until the beginning of February at Vanston Place Community Centre in Fulham. Jackie Woolmer, a resident cleaner on the estate, played a key role in engaging with residents about the course, which was offered free to customers.
Fourteen customers from Vanston Place and nearby John Knight Lodge and Stocken Court took part. They learnt how to manage conditions such as epilepsy, heart disease, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and depression.
Topics covered include dealing with pain, extreme tiredness, relaxation techniques, exercise, healthy eating, and communicating with friends, family and healthcare professionals. Those who took part were presented with certificates at the end of the course.
The Expert Patients Programme was launched by the NHS in 2002-4 and the majority of their courses are delivered by trained tutors who have personal experience of living with a long-term health condition. The aim of all Expert Patients courses is to give people the confidence to take more responsibility and self-manage their health, while encouraging them to work collaboratively with health and social care professionals.