Fatigue affects the majority of people with MS and differs markedly from the sort of tiredness experienced by the general population. It can stop those affected from working, socialising and leading a full life.
Dr Sarah Thomas and Professor Peter Thomas from the BU Clinical Research Unit, along with collaborators from the Dorset MS Service at Poole Hospital, have developed a group based fatigue management programme called FACETS (Fatigue: Applying Cognitive behavioural and Energy effectiveness Techniques to lifeStyle).
The programme combines lifestyle strategies with cognitive behavioural approaches. Its aim is to help people with MS normalise their fatigue experiences, use available energy more effectively and learn helpful ways of thinking about fatigue.
A national randomised controlled trial found that 40% of participants who received FACETS plus their routine care had a meaningful improvement in fatigue levels, compared with 19% of those who received current local practice only.
The MS Society-funded trial was led by Professor Peter Thomas and included 164 participants from Poole, Bristol, Southampton and Portsmouth. Results were published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
The UK MS Society is now supporting the national delivery of FACETS training courses for health professionals.