St. Joseph’s London to start two new arthritis day programs

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St. Joseph’s Health Care London is expanding its expertise in the management of chronic diseases with new day programs targeting two autoimmune diseases – lupus and scleroderma.

Dr.Warren Nielson, who coordinates the Rheumatology Day Programs, said the programs will follow the successful multidisciplinary approach adopted for the existing rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia day programs, with a team representing social work, psychology, physiotherapy, pharmacy, nursing, nutrition and rheumatology.

His team will follow the findings of a survey of 160 patients and current best practices in developing the programs. Existing program resources will be reallocated in order to provide these services.

“While our patient feedback has been split on format – days, weekend workshops, etc. – we are leaning toward a two-week daily format,” says Nielson. “The largest number of patients in our survey endorsed that format and we feel this comprehensive approach gives people a good start in managing their illness. The group format also enables peer feedback, helping to normalize their disease – so they don’t feel that they are the only person with the illness.”

The programs are targeted to start late this fall.

Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a rare, often life-threatening condition that affects both the skin and internal organs. It affects more than 16,000 Canadians. Currently there is no disease-modifying treatment although rheumatologists provide interventions that help to deal with the symptoms. For more information, go to www.arthritis.ca

Lupus

Lupus affects more than 50,000 Canadians with a variety of symptoms caused by inflammation in various parts of the body – skin, muscles, joints, blood/blood vessels and internal organs. Because it can target any of the body’s tissues, it is known as “the disease with a thousand faces.” While there is no cure, medications from anti-inflammatories to more potent medications, are used to control symptoms.

More information can be found at www.lupuscanada.org