Happy Eastertime from all of us here at Without Wings!
A few of us will be meeting for a low-key RAmble, April 30th 10.30am, Ballaugh.
Please contact us via Facebook if you would like to join. It is anticipated our first RAmble will be a quiet affair, so we would love to see you! All welcome, including friends and family. If people wish to come who are very incapacitated please let us know in good time so we can change the venue to one that is more autoimmune arthritis friendly!
We hope you've had a wonderful Easter break and are all looking forward to the lighter evenings along with that extra fix of vitamin D. It's been a whole month since Without Wings blogged last and we have so many exciting things to tell you!
First off, leaflets, posters and business cards are finally here. The business cards should have gone out to GP surgeries, so please let us know if there aren't any visible at yours. The rest will be delivered via the next nurses' quarterly meeting.
Secondly, Without Wings has been working hard on our counselling initiative. In discussions with the Department of Health, it was brought to our attention that NICE guidelines 'recognise a pathway for psychological intervention for sufferers of arthritis.' Presently however, in relation to this, it has been agreed that there is a 'service gap' on the Island. It is this that Without Wings has been designed to fill.
The current lack of a comprehensive support structure for local sufferers, has therefore led to some very positive talks with MHKs, the Department of Health and other useful bodies.
Presently, statistics state that 20% of people receiving a chronic diagnosis (not exclusive to autoimmune arthritis), will go on to experience severe mental health problems in relation to their illness. In reality, this is likely to be a much higher figure, as many people choose to suffer in silence.
At the very core of Without Wing's work is a belief that not only is it possible to live well with these illnesses, but it is a person's right to have access to the correct type of support to ensure this becomes a reality.
The Department of Health are in agreement with us that this is not a matter for NHS mental health services. Rather, the provision of appropriate psychological intervention, whenever necessary, in relation to the illness, should form part of a pathway of integrative care right from diagnosis. This type of support can therefore serve as a preventative, as well as a therapeutic, measure. This is crucial. Better coping strategies and a strong sense of support have been proven to lead to better outcomes in physical health for people with progressive autoimmune illness.
Without Wing's main focus for the next few months will therefore be on developing a business plan to prove our sustainability. This will ensure that everything we are working hard to put in place is easily accessible via your GP surgery or the hospital.
We have already set the wheels in motion for this. Without Wings are in the process of drawing up an agreement with the Lisa Lowe Foundation. This amazing charity already have beautiful premises in Tromode and a fully accredited counsellor at their disposal. They have agreed to allow patients with autoimmune arthritis access to this service. The proposal is that these counselling sessions will be funded by Without Wings, will be open ended and available to the whole family unit. We are so incredibly grateful for this wonderful opportunity, and very much looking forward to building this partnership as time moves forward.
Our next two bigs goals are therefore:
1. Continue to raise our profile,
2. Continue to raise enough funds to satisfy a 3 year business plan that will cover the costs of this service. Keep your eye on these blog posts for further developments!
In other news:
Many thanks to Mike Kewley, local mindfulness meditation teacher, for donating his knowledge in our last bi-monthly blog! If you missed it you can still find it below. Mike runs tonnes of workshops. If you're interested in his work then you can find out more about it here:
Pain monitoring soft toys are now in production! Commissioned with the very young in mind, these cuddly Lulas have 6 detachable feathers to help describe pain levels. They would, however, also be suitable for anyone with these illnesses who has communication difficulties, such as people with special needs or with dementia. Please let us know if you would like one. Each one has been kindly produced and donated by In-Stitches, local soft furnishing company. You can find more about In-stitches on facebook: www.facebook.com/InStitches2016/
Last, but certainly not least, we have heard from one of our local sufferers who is in hospital at the moment due to complications with their illness. Our hearts go out to them and their family, and of course, a big, 'get well soon.'