Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint disease frequently involving joints of the hands and wrists. Hand exercises play an integral part in the rehabilitation of people with hand problems due to rheumatoid arthritis.
We developed a tailored, progressive hand exercise programme called Strengthening And Stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand (SARAH) programme which was found to be a clinically and cost- effective in improving hand function and quality of life in a large clinical trial involving people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The SARAH programme is now recommended in the NICE guidelines for management of rheumatoid arthritis in adults.
With high-quality evidence now available for the effectiveness of the SARAH programme, it is important that it is translated into routine NHS care to ensure evidence-based practice and help improve patient outcomes.
Implementing evidence into practice is challenging, particularly when it requires learning new skills and a change in clinical practice. In order to support clinicians to adopt and correctly apply the SARAH exercise programme into their daily practice, we have designed an online training on the SARAH programme (iSARAH) for NHS physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
We have also developed the online SARAH programme for patients to access the SARAH exercises from home (mySARAH). We are conducting a proof-of-concept study before rolling this out on a wider level.
Our SARAH implementation work is funded by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Oxford and supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.
CONTACT THE TEAM
Tel: +44 (0)1865 737 907
ISARAH: online TRAINING for NHS therapists
iSARAH is a free online training course, now available for NHS physiotherapists and occupational therapists to learn how to deliver the SARAH hand exercise programme to patients.
There are four brief modules, therapist and patient text materials to use in practice, exercise videos, and the opportunity to take a brief online assessment to gain a training completion certificate. iSARAH takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete.
NHS therapists can register with their NHS email address to access the iSARAH course
mySARAH: Online SARAH exercise programme for patients
mySARAH is the online version of the SARAH exercise programme and is designed to be directly accessed by people with rheumatoid arthritis affecting their hands and wrists. The programme includes six online SARAH hand exercise training and review sessions over a 12-week period. It has features such as exercise videos, exercise calendar, joint pain tracker, FAQs, downloadable session summaries, and email reminders. The programme allows continued free access to users even after 12 weeks.
mySARAH is currently being evaluated in a group of people with rheumatoid arthritis before it is made available more widely.
SARAH Therapist and patient materials
We are currently providing SARAH therapist and patient text materials, required to deliver the programme in practice, free of charge for health professionals across the world. We are collecting details of who is using the materials and where, and how they will be used.
If you would like a copy of the SARAH trial materials please send us an email providing details of your role and intended use for the materials.