Online help and support for people with RA and their relatives
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and often debilitating autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints and can lead to severe pain and reduced quality of life. Fortunately, modern treatments provide help and relief for many.
RA Coach aims to support people with RA and their relatives in their efforts to live with and manage their symptoms. The online program provides structured, personally tailored information and guided exercises to empower people with RA in order to enhance their disease self-management skills. With your individual access key, you can use RA Coach for three years - whenever you’d like, on any device that’s connected to the internet.
Severe pain in the joints is a defining symptom of RA. Drug treatments can be augmented by straightforward self-management pain-reduction techniques, including mindfulness meditation, breathing, and relaxation exercises.
These and other evidence-based cognitive-behavioral techniques are introduced in a structured, guided format in RA Coach. Some such exercises have been shown to influence pain perception as well as the neural mechanisms underlying pain. RA Coach explains how to practice such techniques, including interactive, guided exercises and audio recordings.
Behavioral habits and deeply ingrained lifestyle patterns can influence the course of RA symptoms and the success of treatment. For example, exercising regularly and keeping a healthy diet are recommended for people with RA. Additionally, consistently adhering to treatment may be a serious challenge, and some people with RA continue to smoke despite the documented harmful effects associated with cigarette smoking.
RA Coach guides and supports people with RA in their efforts to develop health-promoting habits and maintain healthy lifestyles.
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common among people living with RA. Living with a chronic disease such as RA is stressful in itself.
RA Coach aims to help people with RA and relatives cope with the emotional consequences of their disease; for example, by providing information on treatment options and introducing self-help techniques based on evidence-based principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This includes exercises to challenge unhelpful thoughts, mindfulness and relaxation exercises for managing anxiety, and problem-solving strategies to combat stress and depression.
It is difficult for most people to analyze how their symptoms, feelings, and health fluctuate over time. RA Coach contains simple tracking tools that allow users to monitor how their health changes over the course of weeks and months.
Specific self-monitoring items cover RA symptom severity, general health and well-being, activity and exercise, nutrition, and medication-taking. Feedback and tracking charts are provided, making it easy to chart progress over time or notice improvements.
RA Coach was developed and is provided by GAIA, Hamburg (Germany).
RA Coach is intended for people in the USA, Canada and UK.