Recipients: Samantha Broyd & Danielle Ferros
Area: Illawarra / Shoalhaven NSW
Functional Neurological Disorder, or FND, is a debilitating and pervasive mental health condition characterised by a collection of symptoms such as blackouts, paralysis, and abnormal movements that suggest the presence of an underlying neurological disorder (e.g., epilepsy or stroke). However, none of the symptoms are explained by disease. FND is often poorly managed within the health system, and the associated hospital costs are significantly higher than other similar conditions, with patients frequently presenting to emergency departments and more likely to be admitted to hospital. Nevertheless, despite the strong link between the duration of untreated symptoms and long-term disability, access to timely evidence-based treatment is limited and remains an unmet need for most individuals with FND in Australia. This is especially the case in rural areas.
The primary aim of the current study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a 6-week Multidisciplinary Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Group intervention delivered via Telehealth in improving patient outcomes in a pragmatic randomised wait-list controlled trial for patients living with FND in rural, regional and remote areas of southern NSW. It is expected that the proposed intervention will reduce functional symptom frequency and severity, improve mental health and reduce negative illness beliefs, and importantly improve patient Quality of life.