L. Lubitz, T. Lim, J. Gill, P. Denborough
An Innovative Multidisciplinary Inpatient Approach to CFS
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a disabling condition with mixed physical and psychological consequences.
We describe a new inpatient based programme developed at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne utilising a multi-disciplinary approach incorporating paediatric, psychiatric, dietetic, nursing and teacher input on the basis of intensive physical rehabilitation.
We have had 15 adolescent patients complete the programme. Twelve completed the follow up questionnaire, 10 females and 2 males. All have had severe symptoms resulting in 10-24 months of illness, inability to attend school and undertake physical activities and all satisfied the criteria for diagnosis. Their disabilities ranged from being wheelchair bound to having the strength to move around the house for short periods only. Most were on strong analgesics (one on pethidine) for muscle pain and all were surrounded by families in crisis.
All spent 4 weeks on the ward utilising a programme which was designed specifically for each patient after meeting the team.
6 months later
At follow up all were back at school, none was using analgesics and all felt dramatically better. Five regarded themselves as being back to normal, 7 felt they still had mild limitation but were no longer disabled and 1 was finding reintegration into school difficult but had no major C.F.S. Symptoms.
The small numbers make conclusions difficult to draw. However, this approach utilising an inpatient approach with psychological and physical rehabilitation has not been previously described in the literature. We are aware that these results may be short lived and are currently planning a prospective study to examine the long term outcome in these patients.
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