Self-management programs focus on support and empowerment for patients and their families living with a chronic disease, such as diabetes, COPD or Alzheimer's. These programs are designed to assist individuals in making realistic goals, build confidence in their ability in managing their health and maintain an active and fulfilling life.
"We stress with people in our programs that even though they may feel overwhelmed, it's important to be realistic and set small, achievable goals," said Sally Boyle, program lead with the South West Self Management Program. You need to build the disease into your life, not let it become your life.
Programs teach things life-style management with healthy eating and exercise, as well as proper medication management. People who suffer from the various chronic conditions often lead self-management classes.
We train people who suffer from the various chronic conditions to become teachers. Using peer leaders makes everyone more comfortable, and leads to a greater common understanding.
Groups set small goals each week, come back and discuss. If anyone has encountered difficulties, they then problem solve as a group. Group feedback shows the programs truly do make a difference in the lives of those living with chronic conditions.
"My new way of thinking, my new way of organizing and doing certain tasks every day has been helpful and makes me feel good again. I am no longer fearful or worried. I will carry out what I have learned and know what to do when I get lost," said one anonymous participant.
Self-management programs also work with health-care providers to ensure consistent messaging is reaching patients who may not be able to attend the programs, and to provide education and skills training in communication techniques that support client-centred care.
For more information, please visit the South West Self Management Program website.