Strong Health Again Teaches Self-Management of Chronic Conditions

Program Improves Health Status while Reducing Hospitalization

August 08, 2000

Strong Health is again offering a way for people to learn how to self-manage their chronic conditions and maintain healthier, more active and fulfilling lives. "Living Healthy with a Chronic Condition" is taught by volunteers who understand because they, too, have chronic conditions and have been specially trained to lead the workshops.

Based on a program developed by Stanford University, the six-week, peer-led workshop is based on the belief that patients dealing with different chronic diseases face similar challenges, and that they can benefit from sharing their experiences with one another. The program also rests strongly on the belief that confident and knowledgeable patients who practice self-management will experience improved health and be less dependent on health care resources.

The Stanford University study that spawned this program evaluated the effectiveness of a self-management workshop for chronic disease for use with a diverse group of chronic disease patients. Results from the six-month study of 952 patients 40 years of age or older with a physician-confirmed diagnosis of heart disease, lung disease, stroke or arthritis, was completed in 1996.

The patients who participated in the program increased their level of weekly exercise, improved communication with their physicians, and reported feeling less fatigued, less pain, and were socially more active than those who did not take part. They also reported fewer hospitalizations and days in the hospital, and showed a trend toward fewer outpatient visits. According to the study report, many of these results persist for as long as three years. The program was developed at Stanford University Patient Education Research Center as a collaborative research project between Stanford and Northern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Program. Currently, the program is available across the US and in Canada, Great Britain and Australia.

Those living with chronic health conditions such as: heart problems, chronic back problems, chronic pain, lung illnesses (asthma, bronchitis), stroke, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, emphysema, lupus, severe allergies and other similar diseases, are welcome to attend, as are those who care for these individuals.

Participants in the workshop "Living Healthy with a Chronic Condition" will receive a book of the same name which includes information on exercise; use of cognitive symptom management techniques; healthy eating; fatigue management; use of community resources; use of medications; dealing with emotions; communicating with others, including health professionals; and problem solving and decision making.

Course instructors not only teach the material, they also facilitate discussions that help participants make self-managing choices, reach treatment goals, and share their own ideas for managing chronic conditions.

The workshop meets weekly for six consecutive weeks. Each class lasts two and a half hours and enrollment is limited to 15 people. There is a $30 fee to cover the cost of materials, with scholarships available to those who qualify.

For information on dates, times and locations, or to register, call Strong Health Care Management at 341-6439.

For Media Inquiries:
Susan Fandel
(585) 273-4494
Email Susan Fandel