Implementing support for self management

From the perspective of health care professionals (HCP), who want to set up educational programs, there are many possible approaches.

Self management programmes may be delivered by a variety of people including health care professionals, clinical psychologists and trained lay people who may be volunteers. To some extent who delivers the programme is dependent on the outcomes required.

Health care professionals are effective where information and support around treatments and medications are important, and peer programmes are very effective for lifestyle change.

Programmes may take the form of small groups, one to one support, web based group and individual programmes.

Key points to consider:

  • Programmes need to be fully integrated into the local care system and community services
  • Programmes need to be adapted to meet regional and cultural differences
  • Good support from senior clinicians is essential.
  • Local charities and the voluntary sector can be very good at delivering self management support provided it is closely linked to the care pathway.
  • Programmes that use goal setting, problem solving, and motivation and are interactive and encourage participation are more effective that those that just providing information.2
  • Referral to self management programmes should be based on identification of support needs through a collaborative process with their clinician
  • The quality of the people delivering the programme can have a significant impact on outcomes
  • Patients themselves are a good resource. With the right training and support they can deliver non clinical health education to the same standard as health professionals
  • Detailed planning matters – consider carefully the venue, time of day, transport and access, length and timing of sessions
  • Put in place systems for monitoring outcomes and quality
  • Actively engage with participants before courses start; make sure people attending courses are well informed of what to expect and are encouraged to attend- just sending a letter is not enough
  • Systems for evaluation/ assessment should be developed parallel
    to the programme.

With thanks to ENOPE (Patient Empowerment. Living with Chronic Disease)

“Part of a series of short discussion topics on different aspects of self-management and patient empowerment written by ENOPE members for the 1st European conference on patient empowerment (ENOPE)”