Background Rheumatic diseases are extremely serious and they affect every aspect of the patient’s life.The rheumatic patients suffer not only from chronic pains that derive from such a disease but also from psychological stress which often leads to depression due to the difficulties that arise in their everyday life.For instance, they are unable to perform adequately at their work place, their social life suffers and even their personal relations may experience various problems due to the disease.Taking care of themselves is also an issue because the disease creates obstacles even for daily house chores and personal hygiene.In order to address these issues we have created a centre that offers support, information, education and various activities for spending creative time.
Objectives The main aim of the creation of this centre is to help patients to find the courage to come out of their homes and meet new people (potential lifetime friends), to socialize, to share experiences and to give them the opportunity through a diversity of techniques to overcome numerous fears that arise due to the difficulties that they experience from suffering from this disease.
Methods In our organisation “The Cyprus League against Rheumatism” we offer such programmes through the centre of support, information, education & the activities for spending creative time.The centre is divided to a variety of activities that are available to the patients.Most importantly we offer the informative and educational workshops for rheumatic patients in which medical, nutritional, physiotherapy; ergo-therapy issues concerning rheumatism are being discussed.Moreover we organize an artistic and creative time workshop which provides drawing lessons three times per month, hagiography lessons four times per month and silk drawing courses once a month.All these workshops take place in our Organization’s premises as our patients prefer it since they feel calm, in peace and safe; in fact it’s like their second home!The organization has also self-support teams which are composed by people with the same kind of disease. In these teams patients can discuss their problems, support each other and get proper information about the latest developments for their disease.These teams are:The team for Children & Parents, Lupus, Scleroderma, Spondylitis, Youth and Fibromyalgia.Last but not least, in order to be able to manage these programmes we have volunteer trainers but also professional ones sent directly from the “Ministry of Education and Culture”.
Results Baring in mind important feedback that we have received and considering the very positive comments from the participants so far, the programme has been successful and extremely satisfying.Not only did the participants have the chance to familiarise with their condition and socialize but they also made new lifetime friends.For the above-mentioned reasons the organization has grown stronger overtime, the memberships have increased and all its members participate in the programmes offered.For this reason, Cyplar extended these workshops in all the other districts of Cyprus with the same excellent results.
Conclusions It is vital for the organization to operate all these programmes because it has had positive results for the patients with rheumatic disease in helping them to overcome their condition, becoming more independent in their daily life and in facing the disease with courage and a positive attitude through the help of others.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared