What does the data say?
We’re excited to share the results that our clients have experienced as a result of our Fatigue Management Program. We track our participants’ data in 3 key areas:
- Their Fatigue Severity.
- The Impact of Their Fatigue.
- New Strategies Learned.
1. Fatigue Severity
The program is not intended to change fatigue severity – we primarily include this measure so we can identify why increased fatigue might be occurring throughout the program and help the client put a plan in place to manage any flare-ups. As expected, our clients’ fatigue severity was variable over the course of the program.
For one client, there was no change, while others experienced either a reduction in their fatigue severity (this is rare, according to the research literature), whereas others experienced an increase in their fatigue – which may be attributed to the the degenerative nature of their condition, or an initial increase in activity as the program commenced.
2. Fatigue Impact
While we cannot necessarily change someone’s level of fatigue – and this is never our goal – we can give our clients the tools and resources to change their experience of it, and the limitations it places on their life:
- 100% of our clients showed a reduction to the impact that fatigue has on their life.
- On average, people experienced a 5 point reduction by the end of our 6 week intervention.
- We are so happy with this result given that the main purpose of this program is to reduce the IMPACT that fatigue has on a person’s life.
3. Fatigue Management Strategies
On average, our clients reported that they had learned 8 new strategies for managing their fatigue.
This is much higher than expected, and it’s likely due to the individualised nature of our programs and the close level of support and attention our clients receive throughout the course of the program.
Where does the program fit into Return to Work and Work Capacity?
In order to build any capacity at home or in the workplace, people with chronic fatigue conditions need to formally learn these strategies. Early intervention is always better to save them from trying to learn by trial and error. They start learning to apply these activities with activities at home.
This helps by:
- Helping to use their energy better so they do what they are already doing better. By better we mean, more efficiently and in a more balanced way to avoid the “boom/bust” cycle.
- By doing what they already do better, they can then learn to add more into their day and week and still manage fatigue. This can apply to home activities if they are not yet at work, or at work if they have started.
- We saw an improved acceptance that fatigue is a “real thing” to be managed. Clients see that there is evidence and that fatigue management is a “real thing” that is separate to “just being tired”. It is our experience that helping our clients to legitimize their fatigue is the first step towards learning how to manage it.
- There was an improved sense of overall control and ownership over their energy, fatigue, their activities, and how they approach them.
- People gain a literacy for talking to others about their fatigue, and this helps them with the social management of fatigue, including managing expectations of others (family, friends, workplace).
- True application of these strategies takes many months, and research supports this. For those clients we continued to work with after the program ended, we witnessed continued increases to their use of the strategies, long after the final outcome measures were done. This is also true for those clients who returned to work and upgraded their work hours.