A project helping people around the UK manage common types of musculoskeletal pain has been named as winner of this year’s Self Care Innovation Award by the Self Care Forum.

ESCAPE-pain (Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise) is designed for those with chronic osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, or those with lower back pain.

It combines education about self-management and coping strategies with an exercise regime tailored to suit the needs of each participant.

Originally developed in London by Professor Mike Hurley, it has since been adopted by the Health Innovation Network.

ESCAPE-pain is now delivered by specially-trained facilitators in more than 300 locations.

It has been used by around 20,000 people and is estimated to have saved £30 million in health and social care costs.

Self Care Forum chairman Helen Donovan said: “The ESCAPE-pain programme is an effective, scalable way to support people to self-manage osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, or lower back pain.

"The judges were hugely impressed both by its achievements and by its potential to help people tackle this hugely debilitating condition. 

"We hope it continues to expand as a valuable self care tool for those living with musculoskeletal pain.”

Highly commended self care projects

Four projects were highly commended by the judges of this year’s awards:

  • Now We’re Talking with art: Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust created three local art trails to raise awareness of mental health and signpost to services. More than 200 artists, businesses and community groups were involved.
  • Virtual Self Care Week 2020: Baywide Primary Care Network organised a host of online activities for the local community during Self Care Week in November 2020 as COVID-19 prevented in-person events.
  • Supporting Sisters: Aspire Learning Support and Wellbeing provides in-person and online services to women across the North East of England. Its holistic approach helps women experiencing emotional, social, economic, physical and relationship difficulties.
  • Let’s Get Steady: Guildford and Waverley Integrated Care Partnership runs a face-to-face falls prevention programme offering advice to local residents about how to avoid a fall and stay independent.

The judges were unanimous in praising the standard of entries for this year’s Self Care Innovation Awards.

PIF director Sophie Randall was part of the panel.

She said: "Trusted health information people can use and act upon is a vital component of self care. 

"The  highly commended organisations developed innovative strategies to reach people who might be digitally excluded, ensuring their trusted health information was accessible to as many people as possible in lockdown."

Self Care Week

Self Care Week is an annual, UK-wide national awareness week focused on embedding support for self care across communities, families and generations. 

It has been organised by the Self Care Forum since 2011.

The theme for 2021 is Practise Self Care for Life.

For more information visit selfcareforum.org.