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> > > Information for your patients: Helpline, Virtual Assistant and Peer Support

Information for your patients: Helpline, Virtual Assistant and Peer Support

A doctor talking with a sugery patient


Since our Helpline launched in April we have spoken to nearly 7000 people affected by arthritis. Our trained advisors can provide a personalised information and advice support service where they can discuss each caller’s unique situation and help people understand and digest the information as well as signposting to other organisations. Conditions and treatment remain the most common reason for contacting us, with osteoarthritis and  rheumatoid arthritis being the most common conditions.

Arthritis Virtual Assistant

We have also been working with IBM using artificial intelligence to develop a new information tool available on our website, which allows people with arthritis to ask questions and have a conversation about their information needs, at any time in the day or night via a chatbot.

Our Arthritis Virtual Assistant can answer questions on exercise, drugs, pain management and all types of arthritis. Since August, over 8000 people have engaged with the chatbot and the most common themes are; the side-effects of drugs, pain and exercise.

Joint Understanding

We are very excited to announce the launch of our Joint Understanding programme for people with arthritis who are undergoing a knee or hip replacement. The programme is led by trained peers and aims to provide people with support, practical tips and information to help them before and after their joint replacement. Each peer group will be provided with a selection of topics relating to joint replacement which will help to stimulate group discussions and provide a framework for conversations. We are testing Joint Understanding for 12 months in 4 areas of the UK: Exeter, Middlesbrough, Sheffield and Crewe. We have already trained the first cohort of peers who will run the groups in Exeter and hope to begin setting up peer group meetings over the coming weeks. So that we can understand the difference our programme is making to people with arthritis, we will be working with an external evaluator who will be supporting us to design and conduct the evaluation in each of the 4 areas.

If you would like to find out more information about our Joint Understanding programme, please contact Anne Kelleher on or phone 07854273403.

The helplines are open from 9am-8pm, Monday- Friday (excluding bank holidays). Please note that our advisors are not medically trained and aren’t able to offer you individual medical advice. We recommend that you speak with your GP or another healthcare professional for one-to-one medical advice. Calls may be recorded for training purposes

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.