What I liked
The Ankylosing Spondylitis 12-day course for patients at the RNHRD in Bath was excellent. Aside from the birth of my son, it was the best thing I've had from the NHS in 58 years. I left the course feeling more mobile, more positive, more in control and better informed about AS.
As a former CSCI/CQC Inspector, I was impressed by the modern, evidence-based practice; the genuine patient focus; the professionalism of all medical and therapeutic staff whom I encountered.
The course promotes self-management of the disease and its effects, as well as a generally healthier lifestyle to include daily exercise, relaxation for stress reduction and good nutrition. I would argue that the course helps to reduce other conditions which drain NHS and Social Care resources (cardio-vascular disease and osteoporosis, for example).
What could be improved
As in many hospitals in Britain, the food provided did not always promote health and sensible weight management. Heavy meals, for example, of meat pie with several types of potato dish followed by traditional puddings and custard were served. And it seemed impossible to get a normal-sized portion of food!
Salads were the old-fashioned English lettuce, cucumber and tomato - why not add grated carrot or red cabbage? Even on a tight budget, more healthy options could be offered.
I only wish I had been referred to the AS patients' self-help course much earlier during the last 30 years of having AS!
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About: Royal National Hospital For Rheumatic Diseases Royal National Hospital For Rheumatic Diseases Bath BA1 1RL
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