Pain management programme wins Self Care Innovation Award

Pain management programme wins Self Care Innovation Award

A project that has helped thousands of people around the UK to manage common types of musculoskeletal pain has been named as winner of this year’s Self Care Innovation Award by the Self Care Forum.

The programme, called ESCAPE-pain (Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise), is designed for those with chronic osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, or with lower back pain.

It combines education about self-management and coping strategies with an exercise regime tailored to suit the needs of each participant.

Originally developed in London by Professor Mike Hurley, it has since been adopted by the Health Innovation Network and is now run by Orthopaedic Research UK. It is delivered by specially-trained facilitators in over 300 locations including hospital outpatient departments, gyms and community halls. It has been used by around 20,000 people and is estimated to have saved some £30 million in health and social care costs.

Announcing ESCAPE-pain as the winner of this year’s Self Care Innovation Award in the run-up to Self Care Week, which begins on 15 November, Self Care Forum Chair Helen Donovan said: “The ESCAPE-pain programme is an effective, scalable way to support people to self-manage osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, or lower back pain. The judges were hugely impressed both by its achievements and by its potential to help people tackle this hugely debilitating condition; we hope it continues to expand as a valuable self care tool for those living with musculoskeletal pain.”

Self Care Forum President, Dr Pete Smith added “Musculoskeletal pain affects millions of people in the UK and can be intensely debilitating.

“It accounts for 20-30% of all GP consultations, second only to minor ailments such as colds and coughs and leads to an enormous number of lost working days.”

Below are the four projects which were highly commended by the judges of this year’s Self Care Innovation awards:

  • Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust created three local art trails in an innovative project aimed at raising awareness of mental health and signposting to services. More than 200 artists, businesses and community groups were involved.
  • Baywide Primary Care Network (Torbay, Devon) organised a host of online activities for the local community during Self Care Week in November 2020 as COVID-19 prevented in-person events. People were encouraged to take part in online quizzes, exercise classes and coffee mornings.
  • Aspire Learning Support and Wellbeing (Chester-Le-Street) provides in-person and online services to women across the North East of England. Its holistic approach helps women experiencing emotional, social, economic, physical and relationship difficulties.
  • Guildford and Waverley Integrated Care Partnership (NHS Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group) runs a face-to-face falls prevention programme offering advice to local residents about how to avoid a fall and stay independent.

The judges were unanimous in praising the standard of entries for this year’s Self Care Innovation Awards.

Wendy Nicholson MBE, Deputy Chief Nurse & Deputy Head of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing & Midwifery, said: “The standard and quality of the projects this year has been incredible.

“The breadth of issues addressed clearly demonstrates understanding of local needs and how to utilise community assets to bring about change.

“The projects show their ability to adapt to new challenges, including COVID-19, many demonstrating innovative ways of working, extensive partnership and person-centred care.

“The way projects have empowered individuals and communities is testimony to their commitment to improve wellbeing through self care and public health strategies.”

Sophie Randall, Director of Patient Information Forum “Trusted health information people can use and act upon is a vital component of self care. The winner and highly commended developed innovative strategies to reach people who might be digitally excluded, ensuring their trusted health information was accessible to as many people as possible in lockdown.”

David Skinner, CEO of the International Self Care Foundation, said: “Showcasing innovation through these awards increases the acceptance and participation in self care and its value to the future of healthcare sustainability and health for all.”

Dominic Horn, GP and Trustee Self Care Forum said ‘Any of this year’s shortlisted entries would have been worthy winners, demonstrating the wide range of innovative community-based projects all over the country helping support people to self care, often with very limited resources.’

Self Care Week is an annual, UK-wide national awareness week that focuses on embedding support for self care across communities, families and generations. It has been organised by the Self Care Forum since 2011.

The theme for 2021 is Practise Self Care for Life.