May is Arthritis Awareness Month. The Arthritis Foundation has introduced a new resource, the Better Living Toolkit that allows individual’s to understand their arthritic disease and develop a treatment plan unique to their individual needs with the goal to live better with arthritis. The toolkit is set-up in four components that allow users to learn more about their disease, gather information and keep track of their health, set goals and create a plan to manage their arthritis, and learn communication tips to effectively communicate with their doctor and/or treatment team. The goal of the toolkit is to provide information and resources to live better with arthritis.
Get the basics: This section provides an overview of two arthritic conditions: Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis and includes a section managing pain. Each subsection of the toolkit includes a brochure, patient stories, foods that can ease inflammation, and how these specific types of arthritis affects the whole body not just the joints.
Health Tracker: When living with arthritis and/or other rheumatic conditions tracking information about your symptoms and general well-being is an essential way to proactively manage your disease and understanding its effect on your life. The Tracker works by collecting data on three key areas: 1) functional status (i.e. physical function/activities of daily living), 2) pain levels and sleep patterns, and 3) overall feeling of well-being (i.e., emotional health, feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression). The questions are based on the RAPID-3©, an assessment used by rheumatologists. It calculates a health score based on the users responses. The scored can be tracked over time to see how health changes. Users can bring the chart results to their appointment(s) to discuss with their doctor and work together to determine the best treatment plan option(s). Click the “Get Started” button at the bottom of the Health Tracker page to enter the assessment and get started! Downloading the tracking sheet via an email form is recommended.
Whether or not you have arthritis, setting meaningful goals and establishing an action plan to achieve them, is an essential first step for success. This section focuses on setting goals; specifically, SMART goals. SMART goals are: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound. Included in this section are the Goal Tool Kit (zip file), and the SMART goal setting and action plan worksheets, as well as, the SMART goal contract (PDFs).
Communicate with your doctor: Having honest and thorough communication with one’s doctor is essential to ensure that you’re receiving the right treatment. When visiting the doctor it is important to discuss not only the physical aspects of your condition but also how it effects your daily life and personal relationships, as well as how you are managing medications, personal goals, and any obstacles that may be preventing you from obtaining your goals. This section includes information on how to be prepare for your doctor’s visit, a Communication Toolkit (zip file), personal health assessment, questions to ask your doctor, and a glossary of arthritis terms (PDFs).
The toolkit sections are available at www.arthritis.org/toolkits/better-living. If you are interested in a FREE hard print copy of the rheumatoid, psoriatic, or the general arthritis toolkit please fill out the form provided at tinyurl.com/zan4rb6. The print version of the toolkit is only available to U.S. residents at this time.
We are posting this for information purposes as a courtesy to our readers. We are not affiliated in any way with this toolkit/resource. For questions or more information please contact the contact the Arthritis Foundation directly at 844/571-4357 or by email at the bottom of their contact page.
Check out our previous posts: What is Arthritis and May is Arthritis Awareness Month to learn more about arthritis, and discover NIDILRR-funded projects and specialized REHABDATA searches on various arthritis topics from over 1,000 documents related to arthritis.