Chronic Disease Self-Management Program

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program

(Better Choices, Better Health Workshop)

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is a 2 1/2 hour workshop once a week for six weeks in community settings such as senior centers, churches, libraries, and hospitals.  People with different chronic health problems attend together.  Workshops are facilitated by two certified instructors employed by Decatur County Public Health.  The course is offered to those ages 55 and over or those younger who have chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and/or diabetes.  The goal is to have a minimum of ten community patrons in the class each week.  A post-survey will be conducted after six months for those who attended the six-week session.  This is the second year the workshop has been offered.  Overwhelming response and praise has been received from those who have attended.  This six-week program has been a success thus far in promoting a community of healthy living in Decatur County.

Subjects covered include:

  • techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation
  • appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • appropriate use of medications
  • communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
  • nutrition
  • decision making
  • how to evaluate new treatments

Each participant in the workshop receives a copy of the companion book, Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, 4th Edition, and an audio relaxation CD, Relaxation for Mind and Body.

It is the process in which the program is taught that makes it effective.  Classes are highly participative, where mutual support an success build the participants' confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.

The Self-Management Program will not conflict with existing programs or treatments.  It is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education such as Better Breathers, cardiac rehabilitation, or diabetes instruction.  In addition, many people have more than one chronic condition.  The program is especially helpful for these people, as it gives them the skills to coordinate all the things needed to manage their health, as well as to help them keep active in their lives.