Development of a Holistic, Multidisciplinary Program for Patients with Fibromyalgia- a report on the pilot phase


McCarron, M; Gibson, L; Henry, E; Taggart, P.


Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust


Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a chronic disorder characterised by widespread pain, fatigue and multiple somatic symptoms. It has a major impact on quality of life. It is associated with significant societal cost particularly with regard to healthcare use and reduced economic productivity. Management can be challenging with patients frequently frustrated by lack of a co-ordinated approach. Exercise is known to be effective but patients are notoriously reticent. Psychological therapies are important but access can be limited. Specialist services for fibromyalgia are not available in Northern Ireland. ('A Hidden Condition'- Patient and Client Council report 2016)


We report on a pilot program which was developed and delivered by a rheumatologist, physiotherapist and two occupational therapists, with a nutritionist as guest speaker. The aim was to provide a holistic, multidisciplinary approach with the emphasis on empowering the individual and facilitating self-management.


The program consisted of a two hour session per week for six weeks with an additional session with ArtsCare and was delivered September/October 2016. The program included education, introduction to yoga, exercise program, self management skills, relaxation and breathing practices, peer discussion. All sessions were interactive and tailored to the individuals present. Supporting written materials were provided. Homework activities were encouraged.


7 patients enrolled- 6 female, 1 male; mean age 48years.

Attendance ranged from 50-83%.

Patients (5/7) completed Fibromyalgia Index Questionnaires at baseline and end of program, all had reduction in scores.

Patient reported outcomes- 100% scored each week's content 10/10; 100% would recommend program to others with FMS; 80% instigated lifestyle change(s)


This was a novel intervention for patients in our trust with FMS. Feedback was positive. An example of successful multiprofessional team working and opportunity for interprofessional education.