The Bath Centre for Fatigue Services (BCFS) is a nationally recognised centre of expertise, providing outpatient-based, specialist assessment and treatments for adults experiencing long-standing fatigue, linked to a variety of medical conditions including Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME)/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and more recently, long COVID fatigue.
One of the resources used to support interventions is the BCFS Activity, Rest and Sleep Log. The aim of encouraging patients to engage with Log completion is to capture personalised perceptions of physical, cognitive and emotional energy expenditure. Having a raised awareness of the way daily activities drain already reduced energy levels, can enable the patient to consider how they are using available energy, and/or whether they could use energy differently.
Currently the Log is shared with patients either as a hard copy or electronically dependent on choice. It is recognised that the usefulness of the Log depends on the individual completing this in a timely and meaningful, subjective way; resulting in a variation in completeness of the data captured.
The West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) introduced the BCFS team to the KiActiv® Health. The clinical team were interested to trial the KiActiv® Health intervention to explore if it would provide some patients with a Log alternative, or be an additional, method of recording energy expenditure in relation to their daily activities/occupations. KiActiv® Health incorporates patented technology to evaluate minute-by-minute physical activity data from a validated wearable monitor, which is displayed instantly in the user’s personalised online dashboard and is supported by a dedicated mentor to help monitor and understand their everyday lives.
The BCFS team was also keen to understand how the KiActiv® Health intervention would work alongside/integral to its current programme and evaluate any benefits to the patients, service, and clinical team.
Between February and September 2020, adult patients referred to BCFS with a confirmed diagnosis of ME/CFS were introduced to KiActiv® Health by members of the BCFS inter-professional team. In all 43 patients were recruited and 41 completed the 12-week KiActiv® intervention, whilst also engaging in the specialist BCFS fatigue and life-style management programme.
Evaluation of the programme, commissioned by the AHSN, indicate that for some patients, the use of KiActiv® in combination with specialist ME/CFS provision, can have a positive impact. This project has however, identified a number of areas that would benefit from further exploration and development:
- Some development of the KiActiv® technology may be useful, in the areas that were identified during the Replenish-ME project, to better suit the specific needs of this patient cohort, and potentially improve patient experience.
- The West of England AHSN Industry and Innovation team will continue to support KiActiv® to further explore opportunities for:
○ Cost-benefit evaluation
○ Development of a possible business case for some patients with ME/CFS
○ Applications of this technology in the landscape of long COVID
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