A common misconception surrounding arthritis is the belief that the condition only affects older people. In fact, as you read this at least 5,000 children will be affected by Juvenile Arthritis in Australia.
Being a teenager is challenging enough, but with the addition of a life changing chronic illness and complex treatments it can be overwhelming. The risk is that many of these young people will stop accessing the health care they need.
Once a person turns 16 years of age, they enter the adult health system and become responsible for making their own health-related decisions. Navigating the health system independently can be extremely challenging and overwhelming. Without adequate support during this transition, young adults can lack the life skills necessary to successfully manage their arthritis.
Since 1978 Arthritis Queensland has been committed to improving the lives of adults and children who have been impacted by more than 120 forms of arthritis. They educate and support those with, or at risk of arthritis, provide financial support for research into potential treatments and cure, and lead advocacy and awareness efforts for improved services in an effort towards establishing greater public understanding of arthritis.
With our funding support, Arthritis Queensland will deliver a six-week pilot Self-Management Course to assist young people aged 12 to 24 years with arthritis to transition successfully into the adult health system.
The program empowers younger patients to become their own health advocate and builds their capacity to cope through improved resilience, social connectedness, mentoring and peer support.
Delivered in a non-clinical setting, the interactive workshops address a broad range of topics designed to help participants to better self-manage their condition. These include improving knowledge of the participants' disease, understanding treatment options and educating participants on health literacy and the healthcare system.
The Self-Management Course will allow young people with arthritis to successfully transition into the adult health system.
By providing the necessary support, training and education participants will have the opportunity to gain greater knowledge and self-management skills that will ensure they have the confidence to independently navigate the adult health system.
Families and carers of young people with arthritis will also have peace of mind knowing their loved ones are building the relevant life skills that will allow them to independently manage their condition.
For more information on the program visit the Arthritis Queensland website.