Help for people with long-term conditions

NEW versions of essential guides enabling thousands of patients to better manage long term illnesses have been published by NHS Derbyshire County.

Launched last year, the innovative Information Prescriptions act as a guide for patients suffering from asthma, arthritis and other chronic conditions by signposting them and their carers to information about prevention, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care and healthy living.

Over 330,000 people in Derbyshire live with complex long term illnesses, and these are typically managed by the patient or their carer at home.

Arthritis sufferers spend an average of 364.5 days or 8,748 hours managing their illness alone – that’s nearly the whole year – with GP visits accounting for just 1 hour of their yearly contact with health professionals.

Following an easy-to-use Yellow Pages format the booklets cover a range of long term illnesses from heart disease to dementia. Each guide contains individual sections on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care and healthy living.

Information about education programmes and where equipment assisting with independent living can be acquired is also included.

Martin Cassidy, who was responsible for helping to coordinate the guides on behalf of NHS Derbyshire County, said: “The easy-to-use Yellow Pages format make these an essential guide for patients with long term illnesses.

“We’d urge anyone with a long term illness to get an Information Prescription now. The up-to-date information really could play a pivotal role in helping them manage their condition better, and live more independently.”

The refreshed guides are available by visiting www.derbyshirecounty.nhs.uk/long-term-conditions or by contacting the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0800 783 7279. Large print or Braille copies are available on request.

Guides are available for: asthma, cancer, carers, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, diabetes, heart failure, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, neurological conditions, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke.