Our Arthritis Tracker app helps thousands of young people04 May 2020
We’re pleased to announce the official launch of our mobile app, the Arthritis Tracker to support teens and young adults with arthritis self-isolating in the wake of COVID-19.
How can the Arthritis Tracker help?
The Arthritis Tracker provides 24/7 access to trusted information and advice for young people between 13 and 25. It will help young people to rate and record their arthritis symptoms in seconds and track their pain, medication side effects, energy levels, activity, sleep and emotional wellbeing.
Up to 15,000 children under the age of 16 in the UK live with the pain, fatigue and isolation of arthritis, whilst also dealing with the everyday challenges of growing up. Many take immunosuppressant drugs and are amongst the 1.5 million currently having to shield during COVID-19.
The experience of self-shielding and social distancing can have negative impacts on their health and condition, with anxiety and reduced physical activity causing a flare in symptoms.
With restrictions in place for face-to-face appointments during the pandemic and with young people finding it difficult to explain their symptoms, it’s crucial that accurate information of the health of young people with arthritis can be reported to health care professionals charged with their care.
Young people are at the heart of the app
Young people were fundamental to the app’s creation and development, with the idea coming from 20-year old Hope Graham from Northern Ireland. It not only tracks their arthritis symptoms and wellbeing but also connects them with others the same age who understood what it was like to be a teenager or young adult living with arthritis.
Hope Graham, who has juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) said:
“Having an app that can help track symptoms is such a huge help. I have been in a lot of pain previously, but whenever I go to the doctor, I’ll tend to just say ‘I’m OK, I’m not feeling that bad’, but actually I won’t have been able to walk up the stairs a couple of weeks ago.
“I will be using the app all the time. Being part of its development and testing has already helped me to ensure I get the treatment I need when I visit my doctor.
And being able to link up with other young people has completely changed the way I feel about my condition. I used to feel very alone. I hope that this app helps other young people to become part of a community who are here to support each other.”
Over 100 young people and health professionals have contributed to how the app was designed and built, and it will continue to be updated with users’ feedback.
Dr Janet McDonagh, a paediatric and adolescent rheumatologist at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, said “The Arthritis Tracker that young people and Versus Arthritis have created is great – I am actively encouraging young people in my clinic to use it.
“It has huge potential to enhance communication between young people and health professionals, allowing us to better understand the impact arthritis is having on the young person's life and then to treat them more effectively.
“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the app has even greater potential. It can be difficult to assess young people on the phone so using their app summaries as a prompt or by sharing on email beforehand, it will really help these phone consultations.”
Download the app for free
If you or a family member under the age of 25 has arthritis, our Young People and Families service is here to support.
Our service offers advice on how to live well with arthritis, medication and potential treatments, as well as creating a safe space to ask questions, receive information and develop support networks.
Our face-to-face services have changed during COVID-19, but you can find out more about what’s going on via your local Young People and Family service.
- England (12-18 years) - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Northern Ireland (up to 18 years) - email@example.com
- Scotland (10-25 years) - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wales (10-18 years) - email@example.com
We’re here for you
If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you.
- If you would like to talk to someone, you can call our free helpline on 0800 5200 520 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm)
- Chat to COVA, our COVID-19 Virtual Assistant, using the purple icon in the bottom right corner of this page.
- Join our online community
- Stay in touch and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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Arthritis Tracker: our journey developing an app for teens and young adults
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Meet the young people behind the Arthritis Tracker app
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