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Source: University of Ottawa

University of Ottawa researcher helps arthritis patients stay at home, treat themselves

October 23, 2006

The first step in keeping arthritis patients out of hospitals and treating themselves at home begins at the University of Ottawa October 27 to 29.

Patients with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis will be invited to one of two special workshops, run by uOttawa researchers, to learn how to self-treat their conditions and to pass the information to others. Tai Chi and the use of innovative medical equipment will be among the many treatments taught.

Arthritis is a serious chronic condition affecting nearly four million Canadians over the age of 12 according to a 2000 Statistics Canada survey. Researchers hope to discover whether patients can be as effective as health professionals in teaching treatments for arthritis to others so they can manage aspects of their condition by themselves.

This pilot project is designed to serve as a catalyst to get arthritis patients to treat themselves and teach each other.

"Patients will learn to be in control of their disease," says Dr. Lucie Brosseau, lead researcher on the project. "This means they’ll be able to stay out of hospital and be healthier and happier." Brosseau, in addition to being a University of Ottawa researcher, is also funded by The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and The Arthritis Society on this project.

Only 72 patients will be invited to attend the workshops but the project will create a cascading effect, showing patients with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis how they can help themselves. Participants from both workshops will also learn how to teach others.

"This research will benefit not only patients, but also Canada’s health-care system", said Dr. Cyril Frank, scientific director of CIHR’s Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis. "Having patients treat themselves, where possible, will free up scarce health-care resources and reduce overall costs."

Sydney Lineker from The Arthritis Society in Toronto says the project is important because it empowers the patient. Lineker notes arthritis patients may still need to see professionals but says "informed patients will be able to help guide the direction their treatment takes."

Members of the public who are interested in participating can learn about the treatments covered in the workshops at (English only), after completing a short survey.

Workshops will be held at the University of Ottawa’s Roger Guindon Hall near the Ottawa Hospital--General Campus (451 Smyth) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Workshop I - October 27, 2006 (patients learning from professionals)
Workshop Review - October 28, 2006 (patients reviewing material)
Workshop II - October 29, 2006 (most interesting visuals) (patients teaching patients)




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