Lyn is a middle aged woman in full time employment visiting her GP for consultations lasting on average 36 minutes each time. Lyn visited her GP at least 13 times per year over two years.
Lyn presented as tense, a “bundle of nerves” and complaining of muscular cramps, insomnia, headache and feeling low and tired. She often visited A&E with headaches and muscular cramps. Lyn’s symptoms began after a traumatic event in the past. Since then whenever stressful situations arose in everyday life she had panic attacks and could not function or self-
Lyn’s GP continued to discuss the case with fellow GPs and other specialist colleagues at formal clinical meetings that supported the difficult decision of not referring for any more tests or investigations.
Lyn’s GP explained to her why referrals for investigations were no longer going to be made and discussed with her the idea of attending a supportive group treatment (The MUS Clinic) focusing on her symptoms and quality of life as being helpful in the meantime.
Lyn’s GP used the Pathways2Wellbeing consultation document for GPs in order to give her the relevant Information and answer queries which enabled her to participate in a shared decision-
Lynn attended 10 out of the 12 MUS clinic sessions. She began to explore her breathing patterns through various exercises. She soon realised something was different and discovered the correct way of breathing and practised it frequently. In the group Lyn looked happier, seemed more energised and reported to the facilitator and group that she was now sleeping better and enjoying work. Lyn said that the new breathing pattern had become second nature to her and she appeared to increase in confidence at every session. Through the bodywork practices Lyn found that she was well co-
Lyn now enjoys dancing around in her kitchen pain-
As a result of the reduced number of appointments and time spent discussing Lyn’s case there has been increased capacity for her GP and his colleagues. This means that they have been freed up to see other patients that they can help. The costs for tests and scans have been significantly reduced as the patient no longer requests these. Medication costs have also been reduced considerably. A&E visits have stopped altogether reducing costs to the surgery. The frustration felt by the GP in being unable to help Lyn has disappeared, improving their quality of life and job satisfaction. Lyn only visits the surgery on occasion now for different conditions with organic explanations.
Eddie was 26 years old, he is one of two brothers, living at home with parents, and he works full time.
He was referred to the symptoms group by his GP, and attended 11 of the 12 sessions. He seemed to be very committed (he missed one session because he had flu).
The most prominent symptoms that Eddie was aware of were concerned with his eyes. In his description he saw bright white light, he had static vision and had vision blink. He suffered this for more than a year in which he had undertaken almost all of the medical tests available but nothing was found.
He was given medication to attend to his pain. Eddie was worried that he might have some incurable illness or the start of some psychological impairment. He continued to be affected by these symptoms, he went to work but his condition prevented him doing sports or to see people. He became depressed and socially isolated. He was preoccupied that his eye sight would diminish and that he might have something more serious.
Eddie seemed to have very little to say since his first individual pre-
The group welcomed him warmly. He experimented with the various activities which he called “strange things”. He listened to the others and although he didn’t seem to be able to empathise, he seemed attentive and interested. Eddie said that he was not expecting anything from this group, he had never done anything like it and he was curious. Eddie was a good listener and the group offered him an opportunity to learn from others. Eddie was taken into consideration by other group members and given attention.
Eddie seemed to relax in the group; in one session E told the group that he had joined a fencing group and that he enjoyed it. Eddie was invited to show the group the fencing technique, and he used it for his improvised movement. It looked like a dance. It was a great pleasure to see Eddie looking at ease and free in his body. After a little while he was teaching the group the fencing movement, he was offering something to the group for the first time. Although everyone was overjoyed he remained undemonstrative but in his own way pleased. Towards the end and after the group Eddie hardly mentioned his symptoms again and did not return to his GP with them. He appeared renewed in confidence and far less preoccupied with his eyes.