Condition Management Programme
As some of you know, I worked in the clinic as an Occupational Therapist for two years leaving in September 2006. I have recently moved on to become a member of the "Condition Management Programme" based in Baglan Bay, Port Talbot and it was this area that I was asked to write an article on.
What is the Condition Management Programme (CMP)?
The CMP is one of the outcomes from the Green Paper "Pathways to Work: Helping People to Employment" published in 2002. This paper seeks to address the difficulties that unemployed people claiming incapacity benefit have in seeking and gaining employment.
The CMP is a bit of a funny name but really it does what it says on the tin – the clinicians help people "manage their condition". The team formed in August 2006 and has gradually grown from there and now we have 5 qualified Occupational Therapists, one qualified Physiotherapist and two OT techs starting in December.
The process of CMP
The process for those claiming Incapacity Benefit (IB) has changed. Since April 2004 anyone claiming IB goes through a screening process and may have to attend regular "work-based interviews". From these they may have access to the "Pathways to Work" programme that allows them additional monies and support in finding work; the CMP is a voluntary part of this.
We mainly see people with mild to moderate mental health difficulties, musculoskeletal complications and cardio respiratory problems, however this is not a restrictive list and we see people with all sorts of difficulties. Sessions with these individuals are at present on a one to one basis, but in the future we are hoping to run groups. We work with individuals by teaching coping strategies and teaching skills to enable them to improve their quality of life and ultimately find work (paid or unpaid).
In mental health problems our intervention is in the form of anxiety, stress and anger management, skills in coping with depression and assertiveness training. When considering physical problems the individuals are educated on pain management, joint protection, useful exercises and pacing. Healthy eating, relaxation and better sleeping patterns are also addressed if the need is there.
As a CMP practitioner
For some individuals, contact with the CMP is the first time any of them have had the chance to tell their story; as many doctors are limited to the time spent with patients. For this reason there are often emotional responses to the intervention, which many find helpful in itself.
One thing that has amazed me since working with the CMP is the abilities and strength that people have shown in managing their own conditions. This has often been without help from services or any support. I have found myself impressed by the resilience and problem solving skills of some I have worked with. I am thoroughly enjoying the work although it is a little weird not being known as an OT!