Enabling self-management and coping with arthritic pain using exercise (ESCAPE-pain)

ESCAPE-pain is a group-based rehabilitation programme for people with chronic hip and knee pain. It integrates educational self-management and coping strategies with a personalised exercise plan. By helping individuals to understand their condition and take simple steps to manage their pain, evaluation of ESCAPE has demonstrated:

  • Reduced pain
  • Improved physical function
  • Improved psychosocial consequences of pain
  • Reduced healthcare and utilisation costs

The programme was first implemented by the Health Innovation Network (HIN) in South London and is now running in over 55 sites.

The ESCAPE-pain programme comprises 12 supervised sessions for a group of 10-12 participants who receive education on health and wellbeing, and take part in a tailored exercise programme. Typically, sessions are delivered twice a week for six weeks, and the trained supervisor is usually (but not always) a physiotherapist or exercise professional. The programme measures a range of clinical outcomes, and at the end of the programme, participants are signposted to services to help them continue to progress.

The flexibility of ESCAPE-pain means it can be delivered in a variety of locations and by a variety of health professionals. It has been successfully delivered in outpatient physiotherapy departments, leisure centres and local community settings by physiotherapists, osteopaths and exercise professionals.

Information for Facilitators

In order to deliver ESCAPE-pain, facilitators must attend a one-day facilitators’ training course, which covers the principles of self-management, motivational interviewing and group facilitation techniques.

After completing a training course, facilitators will receive all resources to support delivery of classes, including:

  • Facilitator training manual
  • Participant booklet (handout)
  • Exercise sheets (handout)
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Marketing templates

Qualification requirements for ESCAPE-pain facilitators

Non-clinical staff:

  • Level 2/3 underpinning anatomy and physiology (essential)
  • Level 3 exercise referral qualification OR level 4 qualification (essential)
  • At least 150 hours previous experience of working with specialist populations e.g. Exercise Referral, Cardiac, Back care, Falls etc. (essential)
  • Physiotherapy assistants (under the supervision of qualified Physiotherapist)
  • One or more REPS Level 4 Qualifications (desirable)
  • Introduction to MI/understanding behaviour change (desirable)

Clinical staff:

  • Physiotherapist (or other relevant clinical qualification – suitability to be assessed by HIN on a case by case basis to ensure appropriate clinical knowledge and experience of prescribing exercise to patients)
  • Basic clinical knowledge of osteoarthritis and its management are required, including familiarity with delivering education and exercise to patients
  • At least two years post graduate experience 

I find the ESCAPE-pain programme really useful. There has been really good feedback and [my patients have] found things a lot easier in their lifestyle, their pain improved…” – ESCAPE-pain Facilitator

For more information and to find out how you can get involved, please contact info@swahsn.com 

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