Globally, use and adoption of FACETS – a group-based face-to-face fatigue management programme for people with multiple sclerosis – continues to rise and we will be detailing this worldwide impact over the next few months with this article focusing on Australia.

FACETS is designed to be delivered by two health care professionals (HCPs) and has been evaluated in a national multi-centre randomised controlled trial (RCT) funded by the UK MS Society. Results showed improvements in fatigue severity and self-efficacy at four months and additional improvements in quality of life at one year.

Picture of Angela Davies Smith and colleagues from MS Australia

(Pictured Left to Right)
Sandra Walker (General Manager, Services Innovation, MS Limited, Australia)
Leila Dafner ( MS Consultant – OT, MS Limited, Australia)
Angela Davies Smith (MS Research, Bristol, UK)
Catherine Phillips (MS Consultant – Senior OT, Service Innovation, MS Limited, Australia)

Maree Maher (Business Development Manager Clinical Programme, MS Limited, Australia)

Given these favourable results and to help with the roll out of the intervention, the UK MS Society have supported the design and printing of the FACETS manual and materials and the national delivery of FACETS training courses designed by our research team for HCPs. Delivery of FACETS by trained HCPs is an important component of the intervention to ensure fidelity. Facilitator training is designed for HCPs routinely involved in the management of MS/ MS-fatigue and ideally with experience of facilitating group work and a general awareness of cognitive behavioural principles. A survey of HCPs who had attended FACETS training from mid-2014 to mid-2015 conducted by the UK MS Society estimated that to date over 200 HCPs had been trained in the UK. 

Feedback from the facilitator training course has been very positive:

“Excellent programme and very well presented on the day. Very well laid out to encourage clinicians to use.”

“I felt completely positive about it all. The professionalism of the work that went into developing it, the presentation, the content, the materials. An absolute gift to any busy yet motivated health and social care professional.”

While the UK MS Society plans to run further training courses in the UK, rather than sending one person from Australia to the UK it was suggested a more efficient model would be taking the trainer to Australia (funded by MS Limited, the MS Society for NSW, VIC, ACT & Tasmania).  Angela Davies Smith is a clinical specialist research physiotherapist who works at an MS Research Unit at North Bristol NHS Trust. She was involved in delivering FACETS as part of the RCT and following completion has continued to deliver FACETS regularly as usual care in Bristol (15 programmes to date). Since 2016, she has also been delivering FACETS training for facilitators as part of the UK training workshops co-ordinated by the UK MS Society.

This November, Angela travelled to the MS Limited offices in Melbourne (pictured top), where she delivered training to 10 HCPs and MS Limited staff to equip them with knowledge and skills to deliver FACETS across Australia. The

Picture of the FACETS workshop in action

The FACETS workshop in action

FACETS one day training workshop day consists of presentations, small group work and discussions. By the end of the training attendees will have received information on the research that underpins FACETS and are suitably equipped to co-facilitate the 6 week, group-based FACETS programme using the manual and supporting resources. Angela will continue to act as a mentor to the trainees as they start to deliver the programme in 2019.

For more information about FACETS research or if you are interested in delivering FACETS in your country, then please contact Dr Sarah Thomas at saraht@bournemouth.ac.uk (and please mention the MS research blog in your email).