New therapies for functional neurological disorder: Evaluating a telehealth multidisciplinary and cognitive behavioural therapy approach

Dr Danielle Feros1, Dr Samantha Broyd1

1Rehabilitation And Medical Psychology Department, Port Kembla Hospital, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Wollongong, Australia

Introduction
Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder (FND) is thought to account for between 10% and 30% of neurology referrals. Given the debilitating nature of functional symptoms, associated psychological distress experienced by many patients and the burden this condition places on health services, improving treatment outcomes for patients with FND is an important area of need. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a 6 week telehealth multidisciplinary and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) group on the self-management of symptoms, psychological and psychosocial wellbeing and adjustment in adults with FND.

Methods
Participants were recruited from local Neurology and Psychiatry services within Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD). Participants attended the Rehabilitation Group for FND once a week, for six weeks via Telehealth and completed a clinical interview and psychometric measures one week prior to the Group, one week Post-group and at a three month follow up appointment.

Results
Data collection and analysis is underway. A repeated measures design will be used to examine self-management of FND symptoms, psychological wellbeing, and work and social adjustment. We will also examine changes in the frequency and severity of FND symptoms experienced by the group participants at the 3 month follow up.

Discussion
If the Group is found to be effective in the management of symptoms and wellbeing of patients with FND, this project will result in the development of a clinical pathway of care for patients with FND in the ISLHD.


Biography:

Dr Danielle Feros and Dr Samantha Broyd are Clinical Psychologists working within the Rehabilitation and Medical Psychology field in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. They both have experience in conducting clinical research projects and have been working with individuals with FND for the past five years. Danielle and Samantha have a strong interest in supporting and improving clinical outcomes for individuals with FND.

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