NRAS Launches Care Plan To Help Enhance Patient Self-Management Of Rheumatoid Arthritis, UK

Today the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) has launched the NRAS Care Plan, a patient-held record designed to improve a patient's ability to self-manage their Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is hoped that the patient held NRAS Care Plan, developed by NRAS with input and feedback from its members and assistance from Rheumatologist Dr Tom Kennedy and Rheumatology Specialist Nurse Nicky Kennedy, can play a central part in helping Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients understand and be involved in decisions about their care so that both patient and healthcare professional can improve individual outcomes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic, progressive and disabling condition that affects approximately 690,000 people in the UK Treatment for RA is measured in a variety of ways, including blood tests and in particular DAS (Disease Activity Scores) are tracked. Using the Care Plan, patients record their goals, any questions they may have before a consultation, the care they receive for their RA, and log visits to their healthcare professional. The patient can summarise the activities from each visit and the outcome of each visit. The Care Plan allows patient-reporting of the most common features of RA, including fatigue and pain , in addition to the patient's DAS (Disease Activity Scores) .

As Helen Copeland, an RA sufferer from Leicester explains; "Having lived with my condition for the past 35 years, I have tried different ways of managing it. The Care Plan that I recently received from NRAS is a breath of fresh air. It will certainly help in managing my condition. Before an appointment, I make a note of things I want to discuss, along with any concerns I have. It means I feel more confident going into my appointment and helps build that working relationship with my doctor. By working together, we achieve the same goal and that is to manage my condition."

The NRAS Care Plan is a booklet for patients to take to appointments with their doctor or rheumatology team. It provides a list of key items that patients could expect their healthcare professional to discuss with them during a visit.

To obtain your copy of the NRAS Care Plan, phone the NRAS helpline on 0800 298 7650. The NRAS Care Plan is available free of charge to NRAS members and at a price of £2.00 inclusive of postage and packing to non-members.