The Australian ME/CFS/FMS Primary Care Best Practice Research and Evaluation Project (1999 – Present) was set up to facilitate participation in the Australian Health Service Chronic Disease Programs Policy Reforms.
Bridges & Pathways worked in collaboration with members of the South Australian Self-Management Alliance and other community agencies who provide care and support. Evaluations were conducted by Centre of Rheumatic Disease University of Melbourne. The Project used the Flinders Program Chronic Disease Management approach Flinders Self Management to bridge the gaps between research and daily care for Australians living with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia.
ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia Management is a combination of best practice health interventions, education and lifestyle modifications. This approach used is consistent with current overseas recommendations.
More than 80% of people improve when treated with an integrated combination of the best of medicine and self-management life skills programs (Lapp and Campbell, 2011). For ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, the hypothesis was:
- Just like diabetes and other chronic conditions, ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia can be managed using an integrated multidisciplinary management approaches to care.
- A range of self-management life skills enables people living with these conditions to work in partnerships with health providers and to take charge of their condition.
The Best Practice Australian ME/CFS Integrated Education Model (Powell et al, 2008) contains 8 components or core steps consistent the Flinders Chronic Disease Management Program:
- Have knowledge of ME/CFS and management options
- Have a treatment and care plan to coordinate a healthcare team
- Actively share in decision making with the healthcare team
- Monitor and manage the signs and symptoms of ME/CFS
- Manage ME/CFS using a mixture of medical and lifestyles decisions (physical, mental, emotional and social life)
- Adopt a lifestyle that promotes health (sleep, stress, diet and movement)
- Extend the care plan to use education, community and other support services
- Regularly review the care in partnership with your case manager
ME/CFS education programs are delivered in clinic, group, or one-to-one sessions.