Study seeks people with chronic pain and at least one other chronic condition to test online treatment for multimorbidity
A new online treatment programme called ACTION, set up by expert psychologists and physiotherapists at NUI Galway, aims to help those who are managing multiple chronic health conditions.
In Ireland, over half a million people suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis. This study is open to people all over Ireland, and the first wave of participants will start the study in June and July. General Practitioners and other health professionals around the country are being encouraged to refer suitable people to the study.
The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, with support from the Health Research Board, is currently recruiting people with chronic pain and at least one other chronic health condition to take part in the research. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) trial will provide eight online sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. At the moment, such supports are scarce and generally aimed at the self-management of single specific chronic conditions, such as chronic pain alone.
Research has shown that having multiple chronic conditions, also known as multimorbidity, is associated with a number of negative outcomes, such as a decline in physical and mental functioning, a decreased quality of life and a greater risk of mortality. The ACT trial is based on emerging clinical science that demonstrates the usefulness of managing health conditions through mindfulness and psychological wellbeing.
Dr Brian Slattery, coordinator of the study at the Centre for Pain Research in NUI Galway, said: “We know that psychological therapies provided to people with chronic conditions are beneficial, but can be hard to access. In this trial, we will offer the online programme to people all over the country, with any combination of conditions and chronic pain, to try alongside any existing treatments they are already using.”
The free online sessions in the ACT programme will focus on values and goals that are individual to each person in the trial. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. In addition, mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy will help identify both negative thinking patterns and the development of effective challenges.
People who take part in the ACTION trial will not need to attend any clinic or the University at any stage. Materials are tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their health conditions. Participants can access physiotherapy and all medical services as usual while involved in the trial.
For further information and to participate in the study, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research. GPs or physiotherapists who are interested in referring suitable patients to the trial can also use these contact details.