Integrating self-management and exercise for people living with arthritis.

The Program for Arthritis Control through Education and Exercise, PACE-Ex™, is an arthritis self-management program incorporating principles and practice of self-management, goal setting and warm water exercise. The purpose of this program review is to examine the impact of PACE-Ex on participants’ self-efficacy for condition management, self-management behaviours, goal achievement levels and self-reported disability, pain and health status. A retrospective review was conducted on participants who completed PACE-Ex from 1998 to 2006. A total of 347 participants completed 24 PACE-Ex programs [mean age 69.9 (±12.2) years, living with arthritis mean of 14.1 (±13.2) years]. Participants showed statistically significant improvements in their self-efficacy to manage their condition (Program for Rheumatic Independent Self-Management Questionnaire) (P < 0.001) and performance of self-management behaviours (Self-Management Behaviour Questionnaire) (P < 0.01). Self-reported health status, disability and pain levels improved post-program (P < 0.01) despite reporting statistically significant increase in the total swollen and tender joint counts (Health Assessment Questionnaire) (P < 0.05). Sixty-eight percent of participants achieved or exceeded their long-term goal as measured by Goal Attainment Scaling.

These findings remain to be proven with a more rigorous method yet they suggest that PACE-Ex is a promising intervention that supports healthy living for individuals with arthritis.

Mendelson AD, McCullough C, Chan A . Integrating self-management and exercise for people living with arthritis. Health Educ Res. 2011 Feb;26(1):167-77