Purpose: Although an effective face-to-face fatigue program is available, people with transportation, time or geographic restrictions cannot access this intervention. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop and to evaluate effectiveness of an online fatigue self-management program (online FSMP).
Methods: Key features of the face-to-face program were captured and transferred to an online FSMP prototype. Subsequently, three pilot tests were conducted for formative evaluation of the program and necessary changes were made to improve the program. During the third pilot test, the effectiveness of the online FSMP was also tested using a pre-test post-test design on a sample of individuals with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or post-polio syndrome.
Results: The study resulted in a standardised 7-week online FSMP mimicking its face-to-face version. Participants were offered fatigue self-management skills through structured activities, sharing information and experiences, expressing their ideas or feelings and offering advice and support to one another. The participants in the third pilot study improved significantly on the Fatigue Impact Scale (p <0.05) and a trend toward significance was shown on the Personal Wellbeing index (p = 0.08).
Conclusions: The online FSMP is a viable treatment for people with neurological conditions and warrants further study.