Continuing Professional Development
3 RACGP CPD Points
This webinar aims to increase awareness of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) as a diagnosis and its links to ‘long COVID’, as well as improve GP capability in diagnosing and managing ME/CFS patients.
Research indicates that half of patients still unwell 6 months after a mild to moderate COVID-19 infection will meet the diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS. Evidence shows that early recognition, diagnosis and appropriate management of ME/CFS can improve quality of life and sometimes long-term prognosis.
GPs will play an important role in diagnosing and managing the growing number of ME/CFS patients. Our webinar will assist GPs by increasing awareness of ME/CFS as a diagnosis, and improve their confidence in diagnosing and managing patients with ME/CFS.
Dr. Kirsten van Haaster has been a GP for more than 20 years, working in an excellent practice in the Dandenong Ranges. She graduated in 1995 and has been a fellow of the RACGP since 2002. Kirsten has also been known to travel to the Northern Territory for the odd GP locum in remote Aboriginal communities.
As well as clinical practice, she enjoys working in education, having run OSCE exam preparation courses and seminars at both the old Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local (EMML) and EMPHN, and examining for the RACGP OSCEs. She continues to supervise medical students and registrars in her clinic. Kirsten is an experienced GP Clinical editor for Health Pathways Melbourne. She is currently completing work on the new Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) page in collaboration with Emerge Australia.
Louise de Pino is a trained social worker who has lived with ME/CFS for 21 years and has a unique empathy, perspective and understanding of what it is like to grow up living with a chronic illness. She has a background working with and supporting vulnerable, marginalized communities and has witnessed how easy it is to fall through the cracks, especially within our current healthcare systems.
Louise became ill with ME/CFS when she was 12 years old and throughout the years has had many interactions with the medical system and often found that many health professionals were not aware how to navigate the complexity of this multi-system disease or didn't have the capacity to. As a result, Louise has also partaken in extensive patient advocacy, with the goal of building awareness about ME/CFS and cultivating understanding about the barriers that many people face having an 'invisible' disability.
Kate Herbert is a registered nurse with 16 years experience in paediatrics, infection control and immunisation. She recently completed honours by research with her topic being 'quality of life in ME/CFs'. Kate also has lived experience with ME/CFS herself, and has assisted with running community support groups and information sessions as a volunteer prior to starting her role as Nurse Educator with Emerge Australia in 2021.
By the end of this session, you will be able to:
- identify the current challenges facing ME/CFS patients navigating primary care
- apply US National Academy of Medicine (NAM) guidelines in diagnosis of ME/CFS
- describe practical support strategies to patients to manage ME/CFS.