From InterAction 110, published Spring 2022
Action for M.E. has now merged with the ME Trust and is offering Healthcare Services including access to a doctor, physiotherapist, counsellor and chaplain. To cover costs charges are applicable but people can apply for a bursary towards the cost.
By combining the power of our organisations, we aim to ensure that all adults and children with M.E. can access the care and support they need. Our friendly and experienced services team are contactable by phone and email and offer the following services to people with M.E. and their families, friends and carers:
As a combined team we are already looking at how we can scale up the existing holistic support available to people with M.E. in the UK and expand our services to reach more people. We will continue to post updates on our website and social media channels.
All healthcare services previously delivered by The ME Trust will continue in the merged organisation.
Helen Winning, Director, Healthcare Services, Action for M.E., said: “The merger with Action for M.E. means that we have the opportunity to expand the healthcare services previously offered by The ME Trust and to reach more people with M.E. and their families. “ We will continue to adopt a whole-person-approach, supporting people in whatever way suits them best, helping them to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.”
How we can support you
We offer individually-tailored, whole-person care. That means we seek to support you in whatever way is right for you as an individual physically, emotionally or spiritually. As well as listening and caring for the needs of the whole person, we offer encouragement and support to families and the immediate community of carers.
Action for M.E. is committed to patient-led care, supported by robust biomedical evidence. We recognise that people with M.E. may have experienced stigma and disbelief about their health. We fully support research into the biological causes of the illness and are currently encouraging our patients to sign up for the DecodeME research study.
We support people to manage the physical symptoms of M.E. with medical advice and intervention, and physiotherapy. We also acknowledge that any long term illness can have psychological effects, and we therefore offer counselling, emotional support and spiritual direction for people who find that helpful.
This is the model of whole-person care which is fundamental to the activities of Action for M.E. M.E. has a wide spectrum of severity and symptoms, and there is no one size fits all.
What we do
At Action for M.E., we understand how difficult it can be to find good clinical advice and support. We are working to ensure that everyone affected by M.E./CFS has access to diagnosis, treatment and care.
Our doctor gives an individual, personal, clinical assessment of the biological aspects of the whole person, noting that M.E./CFS affects most systems in the body and is an illness resulting in much more than ‘chronic fatigue’.
Reviewing the information provided regarding the past medical history, medication, investigation and interventions tried elsewhere, they give their medical opinion. Our doctor provides individual clinical advice but does not offer the issuing of prescriptions. However, medication advice can be sent to your GP.
Our physiotherapist’s expertise and advice helps to improve quality of life, working gently, step by step towards increasing levels of activity and function. She often begins with a questionnaire about baseline function and together works out with her patient what are their own priorities and aims. This may also involve family and carers.
Coming up with a plan gives the patient a sense of control and hope. Reviews allow for adjustments and take into account the variable nature of M.E., which is not expected just to steadily improve day by day.
Our physio can also help with pacing (learning to work within one’s ‘energy envelope’), learning to relax in a planned way, and can give advice about resting positions and pain management.
We offer both counselling and emotional support. Sessions are both supportive and therapeutic in nature: they may include strategies and goals on how to deal with depression and anxiety or manage difficult emotions and behaviours.
Each session is weekly or fortnightly and is booked into the diary on a regular basis. Counselling may be time-limited or ongoing.
Emotional support sessions are by definition supportive in nature and the emphasis is on listening and offering emotional and practical support. Our counselling and emotional support services focus on M.E.-related support, i.e. living with or coping with M.E. Broader mental health issues, including historical trauma, or other defined conditions, must be addressed by local services. Our services are provided via telephone or Skype and so there are limitations to what we can offer effectively, safely and ethically.
Our team of chaplains offer spiritual accompaniment to people of all faiths, and to those who are uncertain or have none.
Multi-faith chaplaincy, like counselling, takes place within a supportive listening relationship. The pastoral support felt by this is similar to emotional support from a counsellor, except that the patient/ client knows their listener has a faith perspective which may come into the conversation if the patient wishes it to.
The focus of multi-faith chaplaincy work is not so much on resolving specific problems/issues as working towards personal and spiritual growth. Multi-faith chaplaincy sessions may comprise pastoral support, or they may move into spiritual accompaniment, or they can be a mixture of both.
Our clinical team
We offer support in a variety of ways:
We can also offer support to carers and family members affected by your illness. You can find more details about the services we offer and profiles of our team of clinicians by visiting www.actionforme.org.uk/healthcare-services
Do you charge for Healthcare Services?
It is our dream to offer all our Healthcare Services for free but until we are in a position to do so, we charge fees only to cover costs. As a charity, we aim to keep our charges as low as possible. Full details of charges and what you can expect to receive are available on our website or by calling our helpline.
We want to do everything we can to help those who can’t afford to pay the full amount. In most cases, we offer either a 25% or 50% reduction on our charges.
If you have been awarded a financially assessed benefit, you will be eligible for bursary support. If you are not in receipt of benefits, you may still be awarded a bursary after a confidential discussion of your individual financial situation with a member of our team.
You will receive confirmation of your award by email. Your bursary allocation is valid for 12 months from the date of the confirmation email. Any sessions remaining at the end of this period will not be carried forward.
Further bursary support may be available if your financial circumstances are unchanged and after consultation with the appropriate member of the Action for M.E. clinical team.
How do I access services?
The referral is simple, just contact our Information and Support Team via webform, phone or email. They can send you a Healthcare Services self-referral form, which includes application for a bursary if you need it.