Ciara O Loughlin is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Rheumatology Department in St James’s Hospital since 2007. Ciara has over 11 year’s experience in total in this area having worked in a Rheumatology Rehabilitation Unit prior to this post. Ciara graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Adult Nursing in Napier University. Ciara completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Rheumatology from the University College Dublin in 2007 which enabled her to take up post as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. Ciara also completed a Certificate in Nurse Prescribing in 2010 from the Royal College of Surgeon. Ciara has submitted many posters presentations for both local and national Rheumatology conferences and hopes to complete her Masters in Nursing over the next two years.
The RAISE (Rheumatoid Arthritis Information Support and Education) application was developed with the support of Arthritis Ireland a charitable organisation who supports people with RA, to provide knowledge to people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. The RAISE application was developed using the expertise of the Rheumatology team in St James’s Hospital. It was designed as a self-management tool for people living with RA. The RAISE app was developed following a self-management course that was established in the Rheumatology department in 2005 that initially ran as a 4 week programme. The self-management course also named RAISE was designed to improve self-efficacy and health status, provide joint protection and education, and facilitate group support network and self-management behaviours. It was designed as a multi-disciplinary education programme with input from nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Each patient receives an information pack including a course workbook with supplementing material and home programme and a relaxation tape to practice at home. The patient is encouraged to record their daily activity such as pain and fatigue levels, to set both short term and long term goals, and to develop an action plan in order to achieve these goals. The course is run in a relaxed non-judgemental atmosphere with positive support from the team and the participants.
An unrestricted grant from Pfizer Ireland was obtained to support the development of the RAISE application for both iOS and android platforms. A digital marketing company, Publicis D, was approached to design and build the RAISE application. Several meetings took place over a six month period between Publicis D and the Rheumatology team in St James’s Hospital during which the purpose, content and functionality of the RAISE application were agreed. Arthritis Ireland a charity supporting patients with RA, were invited to review the content and functionality of the application. An estimated time of completion of the RAISE application was decided. The RAISE application is structured around the content provided The content in the app includes information such as disease diagnosis, symptoms, medications, diet, exercise, smoking, flare management, work and RA, exercise videos, a relaxation audio, progress monitors and stories written by people living with RA. A design was created for the RAISE app which included a colour palette and iconography for use within the app. The RAISE app was completed and launched in September 2015. The RAISE app will be a useful tool for those living with RA in terms of increasing self-efficacy and improving knowledge. The provision of information and the availability of resources within the app such as exercise videos, a relaxation audio and pain/activity diaries will facilitate empowerment of people with RA over their disease and assist them to better cope with the altering stages of their disease.