When Your Rheum tackled the hearty dragon

By Laura Lunt,

In the planning of our autumn Your Rheum meeting, visiting Wales was at the top of our location list, as Your Rheum hasn’t been there before. So, on Saturday 9th November we made it to Cardiff!!

Kat and I arrived at midday, in a dry but cold Cardiff city centre and made our way to the Versus Arthritis office, who were kindly hosting us for the afternoon. We met Sharyn who is a Versus Arthritis family and young person coordinator and set up ready to start the meeting around 1pm.

This meeting was extra special, not just because we were in lovely Wales, but because we were celebrating Your Rheum’s 3rd birthday!! (that’s right, we’ve been around for 3 whole years) and to help us celebrate we had plenty of birthday treats including Colin the caterpillar cake (see picture of a very happy me holding Colin.)

Morgan and Lilly arrived, we sat down with a good brew and all got to know one another (including Lilly’s lovely mum Donna.) Poor Vic, our researcher/physiotherapist for the day, finally made it to us – she fought through the bad weather and UK public transport. Lilly’s mum went off to do some retail therapy and then we were all ready to get started.

Vic who is a physiotherapist in Newcastle by day and a researcher by night, explained to us a couple of projects herself and colleagues up and down the country are working on. In a nutshell, she was interested in what children and young people living with rheumatic conditions, consider to be important to them (both day-to-day and throughout their lives so far.) For example, being able to move or play sports, having energy and feeling less fatigued, talking/making new friends. The list is endless! These types of things are also known as outcomes. Vic is particularly interested in these outcomes as they will help health professionals like herself monitor and examine things important to children and young people she sees in clinic. The idea being, once you know what you should be looking at, you can monitor improvements or declines and treat when needed. This information will also hopefully help other health professionals and researchers in the future, to improve treatments and services.

Vic brought with her a large piece of paper which we could all scribble or draw on, to share our ideas. We also used magazines to cut out images to support our thinking. We did this activity as a small group with lots of chatting to work through our thoughts. As always, we made sure everyone had a break with snacks and of course enjoyed a slice of Colin.

Here are some photos of us doing the activity. For those of you who want a sneak peak of what the group said are important outcomes to them, they included: hobbies such as dancing and wheelchair sports; walking and playing with pets; making friends and socialising and communicating experiences of pain. Physiotherapists such as Vic can assess these outcomes by using things such as questionnaires or talking to the young person when in clinic or, using a pain 0-10 line which is more meaningful to patients, (for example, 3 means pain but not as painful as yesterday or my kind of level 10 pain.) It’s also important to give examples or scenarios of pain opposed to just using numbers 0-10.

Everyone seemed to enjoy this group activity because it gave the opportunity to zoom in and out of life, as Morgan nicely put it. Lilly also highlighted that it’s a good way to see an overview of you and reflect. With a few more prompts at the start of the activity, Vic has herself a creative way to engage and talk to young people about what is important to them.

It was a great and productive meeting, working with lovely people (as always). Thank you to all who made it happen and to Kat, who isn’t in a photo but was definitely there. 🙂

Till next time Wales!

Written by Laura Lunt ( Your Rheum Coordinator & Facilitator)