ESCAPE-pain is a rehabilitation programme for people 45+ years who have knee, hip and/or back pain. It is usually delivered in 12 face-to-face sessions, but as “stop gaps” to help people during COVID-19 when access to face-to-face classes has been paused, we have looked at various ways to help people access the programme.
People were encouraged to access ESCAPE-pain app and ESCAPE-pain Online our digital versions of the programme. In addition, we made the exercise and educational videos from the app accessible on our website, and constructed an ESCAPE-pain digital support tools guidance that has tips for getting the best out of these resources.
We are currently supporting 11 centres who are piloting delivery of virtual ESCAPE-pain via Zoom, MS Teams or similar platforms, and 15 other centres are considering virtual delivery. We have discovered that virtual delivery of complex healthcare interventions, such as ESCAPE-pain, can be achieved, but there are significant challenges. To help people understand these challenges and find solutions we have compiled the early experiences and learnings of the centres who have delivered virtual ESCAPE-pain FAQ resource, hosted a webinar and are planned another in September.
In the immediate post-COVID period and during NHS Reset, our digital resources and virtual ESCAPE-pain may reduce the need for face-to-face programmes and help manage the backlog of deconditioned, inactive older people requiring conservative and surgical management of knee, hip and back pain. In the longer term the learnings and experiences we glean during this period may enable us develop novel ways to deliver ESCAPE-pain to people who live in remote rural locations, if the programme is not running in their area or if medical contra-indications prevents attendance of face-to-face healthcare interventions.