Saturday, 27 April 2013

The biopsychosocial model of disease

The biopsychosocial model of disease existed in my notes... an excuse to get out the colouring crayons and draw a diagram, but ultimately another collection of facts that needed to be digested then regurgitated in the summer exams, something to be fitted in around learning about the important stuff - the science.
But the biopsychosocial model has come alive for me recently, now I realise what an impact the later two components, psychological and social, can have on patients.

In the 1977 paper in Science, George Engel introduced the biopsychosocial model:
"The dominant model of disease today is biomedical, and it leaves no room within it's framework for the social, psychological and behavioural dimensions of illness. A biopsychosocial model is proposed that provides a blueprint for research, a framework for teaching and a design for action in the real world of health care."

Following some conversations on Twitter recently and from my own experience at medical school and now as a patient, I wanted to explore my thoughts on this model.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Shoosmiths Improving Care conference

I recently had the opportunity to talk on behalf of the Patients Association at the Shoosmiths Improving Care conference, held at the Kings Fund in March. It was a very interesting day debating the topical issues around care. I was the last speaker of the day and wanted to bring everything together, focussing on the patient.


Thank you to Shoosmiths for organising a stimulating day, the opportunity to speak and for producing the video above.

Do you believe in Silver Linings?

I recently spent a quiet Saturday night in catching up with a friend on Skype who was complaining about how expensive having a social life was in London. I half jokingly said "at least that's not a problem I have to contend with living with my parents in Dorset" (where a rare sheep breed is more common a sighting than a young person!)
"Silver linings!" She said!
You either have to laugh or cry, and I chose the former.

When I lost a job on health grounds over a year ago, I knew that there would be a silver lining somewhere, and I made it my mission to go and hunt it out, to make it as thick and silvery as possible. It took a while, but I found it!

Suffice to say, I believe in silver linings, just like Pat in Matthew Quick's The Silver Linings Playbook (the #spooniebookclub read this month). As a book, it was everything I needed it to be: escapism, a quick and easy read, thought-provoking and heart-warming.

Monday, 15 April 2013


Every week there are new reports out looking at every aspect of healthcare and no matter how many long train journeys I have, I rarely manage to read them all. But last week was different - two very interesting reports were published that I read straight away! There was one from the Kings Fund, Transforming our health system: ten priorities for commissioners, that I was pleased to read, because it placed self-management as the first priority for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) - one of my personal passions.
My other passion was left unsatisfied by this report, as David Gilbert noted on Twitter....
... But a second report last week picked up where the Kings Fund didn't - Bring it on - 40 ways to support patient leadership, from the Centre for Patient Leadership

This report brilliantly documents the breadth and depth of work that patient leaders can contribute to. I was particularly pleased to read it because I was included on the last page, as a case study! It is an honour to have been asked, and to be included in the report.

Patient Leaders is a concept that is growing thanks to the brilliant and tireless work of David Gilbert (@InHealthAssoc) and Mark Doughty at the Centre for Patient Leadership. I would highly recommend their weekly Twitter chats on Tuesdays 8-9pm, using the hashtag #patientleaders.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Feeling stressed about being stressed!

Living with chronic illness is stressful. For many reasons.
Medical appointments . . . trying to hold down a job . . . the symptoms . . . missing out on life while trying to 'pace yourself' . . . fears for the future . . . knowing that being stressed makes the condition worse (cue downward-spiralling circle) . . . running out of prescriptions on a Friday evening . . . knowing you have a relapse coming . . . etc. etc. etc.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Two very wonderful people (with equally wonderful blogs, Brain Lesion and Me and Pajama Daze) made my week this week - they nominated The Patient Patient for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! I am delighted to accept the award, and very proud to be able to include the certificate on my blog!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Working with Chronic Illness

This post is the first guest post on The Patient Patient, and I am really excited to introduce you to Kristin, who blogs on Working Lupie, where I recently did a guest post for her on the healthcare system in the UK and what that means when you live with  chronic illness. It is pleasure have Kristin here on The Patient Patient discussing the challenges of working . . . 

Kristin here from Working Lupie. It is a pleasure to guest blog for The Patient Patient today. Anya and I connected over Twitter and have been sharing our experiences of living with a chronic illness. While our healthcare systems and diseases are wildly different, most of the day to day psychological effects and challenges are not.