Background It is well known that physical activity is important for patients with arthritis to improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, bone health, self confidence and physical function. The Dutch Arthritis Foundation (Reumafonds) has advocated and supported these activities for many years. Besides providing general information on our website and in brochures, the Dutch Arthritis Foundation has financially supported local patient communities to organize physical activities in their region, such as warm water exercise under supervision of a physiotherapist. In total, 58 local Arthritis patient organizations have organized 370 groups of different physical activities, so that over 5000 arthritis patients take part in these activities every week.
Objectives The Dutch Arthritis Foundation wants to facilitate arthritis patients that may be unaware of the existence of organized physical activities by the local patient community in their own neighborhood. For this reason we developed a website that can help to find the nearest organized activities by entering items such as zip code, day and physical activity. With this online search tool we hope to achieve that more arthritis patients find their way to organized physical activities in their own region.
Methods Together with representatives of local patient organizations we identified potential important items for our search tool, called the Arthritis Activity Guide (Reumabeweegwijzer). With these items a website was created, and subsequently tested by the representatives of the local patient organizations. All known organized physical activities for arthritis patients were entered in the tool and a second test round was conducted by the local patient organizations. This was an excellent opportunity to check if all the information was correct and to make necessary amendments to the website. The local patient organizations used this feedback moment to reflect on the information on their own website. Furthermore, several activities that were not listed before, like cycling or walking activities by patient groups, were identified and added to the list of activities on the website. Adjustments to the website were made based on the information reported by local patient organizations.
Results The Arthritis Activity Guide (Reumabeweegwijzer) website was publicly launched at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange on the Friday before World Arthritis Day 2014, in the presence of representatives of the local patient organizations. This event was covered by national media.
The website is regularly visited by arthritis patients, reflecting the need for information on physical activities for arthritis patients in their own neighborhood. The website also clearly indicates several ‘blank spots on the map’, regions where no organized physical activities for arthritis patients are available yet. We are looking for possibilities to organize physical activities for arthritis patients in these regions.
Conclusions The national Arthritis Activity Guide (Reumabeweegwijzer) website is a new online tool that can facilitate arthritis patients to find organized physical activities in their own neighborhood.
Visit the website at www.reumabeweegwijzer.nl
Disclosure of Interest None declared