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New health service helps people with osteoarthritis

Thursday, July 13, 2017   Posted in: Resources and Information By: Administrator With tags: technology, medical, health
Arthritis New Zealand media release: 12th July 2017

Sandra Thomas is supported by the Managing Osteoarthritis (MOA) programme.A new online programme is helping people manage their osteoarthritis and share with others who have the condition.

The Managing OsteoArthritis (MOA) programme provides access to an online community and a personal health coach. People can also track their mood or symptoms, keep a food and exercise diary, and access other information and resources via the web and mobile app.

MOA is a godsend for Sandra Thomas (52). She lives in a small rural community where there is no GP at present and very little medical support. She’s been told that her osteoarthritis of the hip - while extremely painful - is not severe enough for her to be seen by the hospital.

“Having a MOA coach makes all the difference. It’s very helpful to be able to speak to her, usually by phone once a week, but I can message her at any time and she’ll get back to me. She has explained a lot of things that I have experienced but didn’t know the answers to,” Sandra said.

Sandra doesn’t drive and has only casual employment, and she could easily become socially isolated in how she manages her osteoarthritis, were it not for the community MOA provides.

“You feel like you’re not on your own – there are lots of people out there with the same problems. When you see what other people are doing, it gives you a boost and you can help them sometimes too,” she said.

The online community is proving to be one of MOA’s most popular features, according to Arthritis New Zealand’s Zoe Pullman who manages the social side of the programme. She says people use the app to connect with each other, share their experiences and support one another.

“Osteoarthritis has no cure and with a lack of treatment options, people often just have to manage the condition themselves. Many find that daunting because it’s hard to be motivated on your own to stick to a programme. MOA gives you the tools to get started by providing all the information in one place plus the support and encouragement of a personal coach and others who know what you’re going through,” Zoe said.

Sandra agrees. “Everything is there for you. I’d recommend it to everyone.”

The Managing OsteoArthritis (MOA) programme is being piloted in Whanganui, Wairarapa, Taranaki, Lakes, and West Coast DHB areas with funding from the Ministry of Health’s Mobility Action Plan. The programme was developed by Melon Health and Arthritis New Zealand.

Ask your GP clinic for a referral or to find out more. You can also call Arthritis NZ on 0800 663 463.

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