Joanne is an Advanced Practice Occupational Therapist in our specialist Central Lancashire ME and CFS Team. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Team).

It is one of only three specialist centres in the North West of England, with others in Wigan and Liverpool. ME/CFS is a chronic, debilitating neurological condition that affects one in every 250 people in the UK. Our team has a current case load of around 75 people in central Lancashire.

Joanne has more than 30 years of experience working with people with ME/CFS and is one of the few allied health professionals able to diagnose and has worked in the current service since it was commissioned in 2018.

Joanne said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of patients with ME/CFS and although some are unable to return to a previous level of occupation, some patients do improve and can return to work or education. One recently ran in the Paris Marathon and another is travelling around South Asia following discharge from our service.”

Joanne acknowledges that there’s a health inequality across the UK for specialist services for ME and CFS.

“We understand that many people with ME/CFS may have experienced a long and confusing health journey before being diagnosed with ME/CFS. We aim to first and foremost, listen to your story, understand the difficulties you are experiencing and offer personalised and evidence-based support and intervention. Our Central Lancashire service is clinic based in Preston and Chorley. For patients who struggle to attend clinic, we can offer virtual  consultations after your initial assessment. Our service aims to help people understand, manage and reduce the symptoms associated with this debilitating neurological condition. Following initial assessment, our specialist clinicians will work with you to create an individual management plan to help you understand and manage your symptoms of ME or CFS. We can work closely alongside your GP and any other health professionals involved in your care.”

The specialist team’s interventions include education about what ME/CFS including an explanation of the syndrome and why the symptoms occur.

Joanne explains: “We use a biopsychosocial model to structure the holistic intervention. We stabilise and sooth physiology and then work on rehabilitation to increase purposeful activity and function. We use various evidenced based methods and techniques with patients, always at their pace and within energy boundaries. Interventions are always delivered individually and holistically.”

Read more about living with ME, including symptoms, stories from our service users with ME and a dedicated support group we offer at our Community Roots service.

Learn more about our ME/CFS Team and link to support available wherever you are.