The Expert Patients Programme (EPP) is a course for anyone who has a long-term health condition and who would like to find ways of managing their illness more positively in order to improve their quality of life.
The programme builds on the principal that people with long-term health conditions know best how their condition affects the way they feel, their lifestyle and their ability to accomplish activities important to them. The course also looks at ways to positively manage symptoms to improve on daily activities and manage the changing emotions that can be brought about by a long-term condition.
The course is free and consists of 6 weekly sessions- each lasting two and half hours. It is led by two volunteer tutors who themselves have long term conditions and have attended an EPP course prior to them becoming a tutor. This means they understand the challenges participants face in having health problems and coming on the course.
Weekly sessions provide information on specific topics such as managing symptoms, relaxation techniques, diet, exercise and how to communicate more effectively with family, friends and health care professionals. Time will be given for participants to share experiences and learn from each other and to develop ways of overcoming specific difficulties.
On each course there are between 10 and 16 participants. The atmosphere is very informal which enables people to relax and to get to know each other. The venues are checked to ensure they are accessible for wheelchair use.