Carers empowered to promote independence in clients with arthritis

Carers empowered to promote independence in clients with arthritis

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Georgia Grant-Mackie

New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC) supported healthcare assistants with free professional development evenings on Management Strategies for Arthritis in July.

With over 670,000 New Zealanders living with some form of arthritis, care professionals play an important role in helping these people to live independent and happy lives.

Guest speakers from Arthritis New Zealand captivated audiences at the college’s Christchurch and Auckland campuses as they explained the causes behind the three most common forms of arthritis - Osteo, Rheumatoid, and Gout.

Attendees learnt about a range of strategies and assistive tools that could be used to relieve symptoms, make everyday tasks easier and help clients to maintain their independence.

Speakers also highlighted the importance of exercise and healthy eating for managing arthritis, noting that even a small weight loss can significantly decrease stress on the body’s load-bearing joints.

Arthritis Educator Georgia Grant-Mackie spoke at the Auckland event, emphasising the vital role healthcare assistants have in supporting clients to understand and accept their condition.

“Sometimes people with arthritis can feel hopeless and like there’s not many solutions, so it’s really important to empower them by showing them ways they can maintain their independence,” said Georgia.

“Healthcare assistants have a unique opportunity to do this, as they interact with clients every day and can establish a deeper sense of trust.”

Georgia was encouraged by the enthusiasm of attendees, which she said was a reflection of their commitment to the care profession and improving the lives of others.

“It was a privilege to be involved. There was a great energy in the room and everyone really wanted to learn more whether it was for themselves, their family or people they work with. It’s so encouraging to be around people who have a real heart to help others.”

Healthcare Assistant and regular attendee of NZTC’s professional development evenings, Sophiah Munatsi shared, “The knowledge I learnt tonight will definitely help me in my role. I enjoy these evenings because they focus on a single topic, so we can get a deeper understanding of symptoms and better support our clients.”

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