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Monday 22 July 2019
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general information, clinical

About the Service - General medicine

The General Medicine Team supports patients with a variety of physical health conditions, including cardiology, dermatology, diabetes, endocrinology, ENT, gynaecology, immunology, neurology, orthopaedics, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, surgery/anaesthesia, and urology. Patients usually access the service through referrals from their consultants in the hospital. However, we also accept referrals from GPs and mental health services when the primary issue is related to a physical health condition.

 

Research has shown that 30% of people with a long term health condition also have a mental health problem. We know that people with long term health conditions are more likely to have lower wellbeing scores than those without, and people with cancer, diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure are at greater risk of a range of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. Many health conditions are also ‘invisible’ to others and this can contribute to some of the difficulties below. However, ‘visibility’ of illness is also an important factor in psychological distress. Research has shown that individuals with conditions which affect the appearance, such as skin diseases, or amputation, are at much greater risk of becoming depressed or anxious.

 

Some of the reasons people choose to access support from our team include:

  • Stress about the illness, diagnosis or treatment
  • Depression, worry, anxiety or panic
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Loss of confidence
  • Coping with changes to appearance
  • Role changes, identity or self-image issues following illness or injury
  • Coping with adjustments at work or at home
  • Sexual and relationship difficulties
  • Loss of independence or physical function
  • Fears about asking for help
  • Improving social skills and confidence after a health change or injury
  • Fear of illness getting worse or coming back
  • Difficulty finding meaning in life following a serious or disabling health problem
  • Coping with treatment regimens which interfere with daily life

 

At the first appointment, we will ask questions about your health condition and the impact it is having on your life.  You’ll be asked to complete some questionnaires that help us to understand your issues better. This appointment lasts between 45 minutes to one hour, and we will decide together whether our service is appropriate and you will be placed on our waiting list for therapy. Alternatively you may be signposted to another service, offered a group intervention or advised to explore self-help options. Whichever outcome, we will think about what you can do in the meantime to improve your wellbeing.

 

Our team uses a range of approaches, as recommended by NICE guidelines, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Compassion-Focused Therapy and Mindfulness. Therapy is structured and usually lasts between 8-12 sessions, though can take up to 20 sessions for more complex presentations.

 

Helpful resources

There are lots of different resources that can be helpful in supporting you to make changes with regards to various physical health difficulties. Here are a few of those that you might find useful. You can also find some resources that can be helpful for aspects of mental health and wellbeing such as mood, anxiety and sleep, on our Useful Resources page.


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Useful books

Living with a Stoma

Author: Professor Craig A. White (2010)

ISBN-10: 184709077X

Explains in clear, straightforward terms all aspects of living with a stoma, including ways to make you feel more comfortable with it, overcome embarrassment, and get the best support.

 

Living with IBS

Author: Dr Nuno Ferreira & Dr David T. Gillanders (2012)

ISBN-10: 1921966149

Instead of constantly fighting your symptoms, this approach will teach you how to step away from the struggle, and in so doing, substantially reduce their impact.

 

Mindfulness for Health

Author: Vidyamala Burch & Danny Penman (2013)

ISBN-10: 9780749959241

Series of simple practices that you can incorporate into your daily life to relieve chronic pain and the suffering and stress of illness

Useful websites

 Title
Asthma
 Practical information regarding meal plans, exercise, coping with emotions regarding your Asthma.
COPD
 Psychological based information and self-help resources aimed at helping/ educating those with various lung conditions (such as COPD, lung cancer etc) on various topics such as: anxiety management and depression.
Dermatology
 Psychological based information and self-help resources aimed at helping/ educating those with different skin conditions on various topics such as: anxiety management and living with a skin condition. Information also available for carers and family members.
Diabetes
 Practical information regarding meal plans, exercise, coping with emotions regarding your diabetes.
ENT
 Leaflets on educating about the condition and managing anxiety , treatment plans and support.
Rheumatology
 Psychological based information and self-help resources/ booklets aimed at helping/ educating those with Arthiritis on various topics such as: coping with difficult emotions.