ESCAPE-pain at South-West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Hear from an ESCAPE-pain facilitator

Martha is a physiotherapist working within South-West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and has been involved in the ESCAPE-pain programme for several years. She describes how many of the people referred to her are often in limbo – they have been told that they might need a joint replacement and are now just sitting around and waiting for a date for their procedure.  Her message is that there is something they can do in the meantime.

‘We are not a substitute for surgery but can support them by helping them deal with pain, improve movement and enhance their overall well-being.’

Martha describes how the ESCAPE-pain programme is like having a ‘toolbox’ ready for coping with all the elements of osteoarthritis. It provides them with the information to help recognise the symptoms of having a flare-up, understand what has triggered it (for example, stress) and learn how to deal with it using simple exercises so they don’t automatically refer to their GP or nurse.  The programme includes advice on diet and the importance of maintaining a healthy BMI, explaining how even a small amount of weight loss can still have an impact on how much pressure is going through the joints.

Martha sees the social aspect of the ESCAPE-pain programme as particularly important:

‘People can attend a group that’s not too overwhelming in terms of size and where they’re with other people in similar circumstances. There’s a camaraderie that helps people overcome any initial nervousness and provides plenty of motivation to try new things. I love it when after the programme people decide to walk home together or share car journeys.’

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