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Expert Patient Programme

The Expert Patient Programme (EPP) is run by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for anyone living with a long term health condition. The aim is to support people to:

  • improve your quality of life
  • learn new skills to manage your health condition
  • meet others and share experiences
  • communicate better with family, friends and professionals
  • feel confident and more in control of your condition

Many GPs who care for people with chronic conditions say that the patient understands the condition better than they do. This is not surprising as many patients become experts as they learn to cope with their chronic conditions.

There is evidence that, with proper support, people with a chronic condition can take the lead in managing their condition. This helps to improve their health and quality of life, and reduces their incapacity (lack of strength or ability).

An expert patient is someone who:

  • feels confident and in control of their life
  • aims to manage their condition and its treatment in partnership with healthcare professionals
  • communicates effectively with professionals and is willing to share responsibility for their condition
  • is realistic about how their condition affects them and their family
  • uses their skills and knowledge to lead a full life

We link up and signpost to other support groups in the county for ongoing support after the course has ended. If you, or a friend or relative, suffer from a long term health problem such as chronic pain or fatigue, arthritis, neurological conditions, diabetes or heart disease then get in touch with our team - we can help you learn to manage your condition better.

The benefits show according to research, the benefits of self-management include:

  • reducing the severity of or significantly decreasing pain
  • improving life control and activity
  • improving resourcefulness and life satisfaction In particular, one survey of 1,000 people who had taken part in an EPP found that they:
  • patients feeling more confident that their symptoms would not interfere with their lives
  • patients feeling better prepared for appointments with healthcare professionals
  • patients making fewer visits to their GP
  • patients making fewer visits to accident and emergency (A&E)

An evaluation of the EPP by the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre (NPCRDC) found that the EPP course increased people’s self-efficacy (their self-confidence to change their behaviour). The results also highlighted that the number of overnight stays in hospitals was reduced, and that the overall amount that people used health services remained the same

Course information

EPP courses are open to anyone who is over 18 and living with a chronic (long-term) condition. The EPP course covers the following topics:How to deal with pain and fatigue

  • How to cope with feelings of depression
  • Fall prevention
  • Healthy eating
  • Managing stress
  • Relaxation
  • Exercise
  • Managing negative thoughts
  • Conscious breathing
  • Diversion techniques
  • How to set personal goals
  • Information and sharing resources
  • Communication skills
  • Tips on improving sleep
  • How medication and other therapies can help

The course is free and consists of six consecutive weekly sessions, with each session lasting around two-and-a-half hours. The sessions are run by two tutors who both have a chronic condition. You can participate as much, or as little, as you wish.

For more details and to book a place, please contact: Elaine Curno, EPP Manager by telephone on 07824 598626 or e-mail elaine.curno@nhs.net. Alternatively, you can leave a message on Liskeard Hospital Reception desk 01579 373500.

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