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Courses help ease stress of illness

May 20, 2003, 09:15:00

People suffering from long-term illnesses in a Black Country borough are to get help in coping through a number of new courses being run by a health trust.

Dudley Beacon and Castle Primary Care Trust has teamed up with staff at St Thomas's Network to deliver the first of these "expert patients programme" courses for patients with a chronic illness next month.

They will give people who suffer from chronic illness the chance to learn how to cope with the day-to-day control of their condition.

The courses are targeting anyone suffering from long-term illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and asthma. The Trust plans to run a number of courses for up to 16 people per course this year, with plans to expand the expert patients programme from April.

Dudley Beacon and Castle Primary Care Trust Patient advice and liaison service manager, Maggie Leaver,says it will help patients cope with pain and fatigue.

"The expert patient programme in Dudley Beacon and Castle is all about patient-led self management for people who suffer from chronic diseases.

"The patients that volunteer to come on the courses will not only learn new techniques to help them cope better with their illnesses, but they will also be in a better position to help make more informed decisions about the care they receive in partnership with health professionals," she said.

A similar programme has been tested out in other parts of the country and results have been very promising. People who have attended these courses elsewhere have become far more confident in dealing with their illness as well as fatigue," added Miss Leaver.

The St Thomas's Network course will run for six sessions, with the first starting on June 10 at 6pm until 8.30pm - then weekly for six weeks - at the community centre in Beechwood Road, Kates Hill. Another course starts on September 8.

For more information call 01384 818990 for an information pack.

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