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Top tips from Keele University to help you through the COVID crisis

18 May 2020

Are you over 70 and staying at home? Do you have joint pain or health conditions? Keele University has some top tips to help you through the COVID crisis.

Coping with joint pain and other long term conditions should not be forgotten about during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to experts at Keele University.

And as we enter the second month of the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown, a new guide for how to stay active and keep well in lockdown has been launched by the Impact Accelerator Unit team at the School of Primary, Community and Social Care.

During these times of social distancing, shielding and self-isolation, thousands of people across Stoke and Staffordshire will be staying at home and worrying about their joint pain symptoms getting worse and what they can do about it.

But help is at hand – a team of physiotherapists, GPs, dieticians, patients and academics have put together a new top tips information guide, aimed at people over 70 suffering with joint pain and other long term health conditions. The guide has been produced using the very best latest evidence and aims to offer help and support during these challenging and upsetting times.

With over 10 years of experience as a physiotherapist, Dr Laura Swaithes is passionate about physical activity and ensuring patients receive high quality care. As part of the team behind the project, she explained: “During the course of the COVID pandemic, we have seen some fantastic examples of community spirit and support for those with health conditions who are self-isolating or shielding. While health professionals are having to work in very different ways, it is important that those with health conditions are able to access support and evidence-informed messages about staying well during this time. These top tips may be useful to many people in the community who are supporting those with health conditions (including family members, friends, neighbours or volunteers). “

The top tips cover ways to access trusted information, how to look after your mental wellbeing, tips on how to keep moving despite being in lockdown and how accessing routine healthcare and getting medication may be different right now.

With a specialist interest in supporting adults with joint pain to stay active, maintain a healthy weight and live well, Dr Jonathan Quicke is a researcher at Keele University and a physiotherapist who works to keep people active at the Haywood Hospital in Burslem. He said: “With the current social restrictions many people with joint pain and additional health conditions have concerns about their health and wellbeing.  The important news is there is lots of helpful support available ranging from advice about how to access our local general practitioner to ways to keep moving and sleep well.  These top tips have been created by doctors, physiotherapists, dietitians and members of the public and I believe are a really useful and reliable source of health information.”

The top tips were put together with local patients. Mike Brooks has been working closely with Keele University and the Haywood Hospital for several years to make sure that resources stay relevant and interesting to the general public. He added: “I have found the top tips a valuable reminder that as long term sufferers we are not alone. There is always someone to call upon for help or advice. We also need to try to look after our own wellbeing too. Staying in contact with family and friends during isolation even with a short phone call will help our mental and emotional health.

“The top tips have been very helpful for me. Being in isolation and not seeing my family and friends is not easy but reading through the tips has made me feel I can cope more easily. It has also reminded me that I can always get help if needed. Looking at ways I can help myself have been reminders really. Take exercise, eat well, don’t over-do things and have some sensible relaxation periods. When this horrible period in our lives is over I shall make sure I continue to follow the top tips for my healthy physical and mental wellbeing”.

For more information about the top tips and other current health information, go to https://www.keele.ac.uk/pcsc/research/impactacceleratorunit/ and follow @KeeleIAU on Twitter and Facebook. Contributing team:  Dr. Jonathan Quicke, Dr. Laura Swaithes, Laura Campbell. Also: Dr. Adrian Chudyk, Keele University Research User Group and LINK group members (Patients and the Public), Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham, Lorraine Watson.


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