Background: General The Norwegian Rheumatism Association (NRF) is one of Norway’s largest voluntary organization, with nearly 37 000 members. NRF is an organization for people with all types of rheumatism, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Some 300 000 Norwegians are diagnosed as suffering from a rheumatic complaint, but it is also estimated that more than 800 000 is living with rheumatism without a diagnosis. Almost every family and business in Norway has some experience of rheumatism. Rheumatism can strike hard in any age groups, resulting in serious pain and leaving its victims as life-long invalids. There are a high number of young adults (18 – 40 yrs) with RMD’s, and the numbers are rising, but they have shown a lack of interest in taking part of our organization.
Specific Our hypothesis is that young adults often are in an establishment phase or a phase with small children and have more need for themed activities, and the opportunity to socialize with others of the same age. Activities must be adapted to the age group if it should be interesting enough.
The Norwegian Rheumatism Association has in recent years worked to improve services for young adults with rheumatoid arthritis in relation to increase activities and visibility above the target group. As part of this work we started the autumn 2012 with an empowerment seminar divided by seven days for young adults. The main themes during the seminars was mobilization of own power and strength and acceptance of where I am and the way forward.
Objectives Around 25 % of the nation’s disabled and those unable to work due to illness suffer from rheumatic complaints. Because of the high unemployed rate among young adults NRF’s main goal is that young people with rheumatism takes part in activities that give them tools to manage everyday life including work life in the best way possible. The empowermentseminars is a part of reaching this goal. The seminars primary meaning is to give inspiration for young adults with RMDs to find their inner strength and to create motivation to succeed in life.
Methods The seminars were divided on seven days during autumn 2012. We used highly skilled educators in all our sessions. Our main educator was a trained psychologist.
Because of highly personal and sensitive exchange of information we preferred a small number of participants. Every participant, totally 15 had to come to every session, this because each session was building on the previous to gradually find out more about the inner self.
Results In the beginning the participants was quiet and shy, but already after second session they became more willing to speak. The longer in to the seminars we came the more they learned about and trusted each other. It turned out they had common challenges and solutions.
The concept of empowerment seminars were a great success. 2013 is starting up again with seven more sessions, targeting the “hard to reach” group, young adults.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared