Improving Health and Wellbeing
Services

Chronic fatigue

A multi-disciplinary service for adult patients with a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

 

Dandelion

 

We provide assessment, treatment, education and information for adults over 18 years old with a diagnosis of CFS. Once appropriate investigations have been completed by the GP, patients will be assessed jointly by the consultant physician and a member of the therapy team. Other co-existing problems can also be managed by the team as long as they do not exclude the diagnosis of chronic fatigue, or do not require other specialist services. We can also provide expert advice, education and support to health professionals, other organisations, families and carers as appropriate.

The service is based within the Department of Psychological Medicine at:

Clarendon House
Victoria House
Park Street
Hull
HU2 8TD

Tel: 01482 617735
Fax: 01482 322211

The general contact hours for the service are 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday.

Our consultant physician is based at Hull Royal Infirmary and the therapy aspect of the service is based at the Department of Psychological Medicine. Referral to physiotherapy can be made by members of the CFS team as appropriate.

The team aims to enable patients to manage their symptoms independently and improve their own quality of life through the use of evidence-based interventions. It aims to work collaboratively with patients’ families and carers to establish an agreed approach to treatment and to work jointly with other services as necessary to meet the needs of patients holistically.

Because of the controversial nature of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, we aim to promote a clear understanding of the facts for which there is evidence and address some of the negative attitudes around this topic through the provision of information, supervision and training.

We believe that CFS is a condition whose causes are still largely unknown. Nevertheless the effects are well documented and these include physical, emotional and social consequences. Given that the causes are unknown, there is no single recognised ‘cure’. What we can offer is treatment to reduce the effects in the three areas mentioned above.

This service does not take the view that CFS is ‘all in the mind’, not do we believe that patients are mentally ill. However evidence suggests that as with many long term physical conditions, there may be psychological or social issues which can predispose, trigger or perpetuate CFS. Therefore our treatment approach reflects this and includes physical, social and psychological elements.

Treatment and interventions

Our team, though small, includes professionals with a variety of skills and is able to provide a number of treatment approaches.  These include pacing and graded activity, occupational therapy, cognitive analytical therapy, mindfulness techniques and physiotherapy.

Appropriate supervision and training are maintained to ensure the above treatments are effectively delivered. We offer group interventions as well as one to one. Issues of diet, sleep, stress, mood, relationships and medication are covered if necessary to facilitate the effective management of CFS. Both short and longer term interventions are provided as appropriate, although all episodes of care are time limited to around 20 sessions due to demands upon the services and the team’s philosophy of promoting independence.

We make use of well-researched outcome measures to assess and monitor fatigue and psychological health. All patients are asked to complete these monitoring forms at first assessment and again periodically throughout their treatment. Anonymised information from these measures is used to report on the effectiveness of the team’s work. If we undertake formal research is undertaken by, going beyond normal outcome monitoring, patients will be expressly asked to give their consent for this and their care will not be affected if they decline to take part in any research project.

Please visit the websites listed on the right for information and advice. We also recommend a self-help book entitled Overcoming Chronic Fatigue by Mary Burgess and Trudie Chalder published in 2005 by Constable and Robinson. It costs less than £10 and can be found in online bookshops.

Referral criteria

Referrals are accepted from GPs only. Hospital consultants should normally ask the patient’s GP to make the referral. Referrals should be made in writing to the team using the CFS referral form which is available on the intranet and should include results of necessary investigations, as detailed on the referral form, to screen for differential diagnosis. This should be completed before a diagnosis of CFS, or a referral to the service is made. 

Key elements of the criteria for referral include:
• Fatigue must not have been lifelong
• Must have been present for at least 4 months
• Not explained by any other medical diagnosis
• Must result in substantial functional impairment
 
For referrers - email us if you require log in details to access referral forms.
The team accepts referrals for adults above the age of 18 with no fixed upper age limit.  There is currently no service available locally for children.
If a diagnosis of CFS is secondary to another diagnosis, for example mental health problems or pain, the team may be able to work jointly with other services to address the chronic fatigue aspect of the problem, if appropriate.

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