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Critter Corner: Self-Management Education Programs for Chronic Conditions in Virginia, DC, and Maryland

Hayek 1Dear Hayek,

I heard that there is such a thing as self-management for chronic conditions. I want to keep my chronic conditions under control and improve my quality of life and health outcomes, but I don’t know where to begin. Is there any program or class I can sign up for in the DC Metro area to help with self-management of my chronic conditions? Thanks for your help!

Karon Ick

Dear Karon,

Chronic conditions — such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and COPD — are among the most common health problems in the US. Nearly half of all adults in this country live with one or more of these or other chronic health conditions. People With chronic health conditions are looking for ways to feel better and improve their quality of life. One way to learn the skills to do so is by enrolling in a self-management education program, which they have in Virginia, DC, and Maryland.

What is Self-Management Education?

Self-management education refers to programs that help people who have ongoing health conditions learn how to live life to the fullest. For many, this means living with less stress, more energy, and a greater ability to do the things they want to do.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is an interactive workshop for people with all types of chronic conditions. Stanford University developed this course to help people with one or more chronic conditions learn the strategies to manage their condition and have the confidence to carry them out. This interactive workshop meets for 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks in convenient community locations. The instructors are trained leaders, at least one of whom has a chronic condition. This workshop is known by a variety of different names, including Living Well.

People with chronic conditions who attend Chronic Disease Self-Management programs learn how to:

  • Cope with symptoms;
  • Manage fatigue;
  • Handle stress;
  • Reduce depression;
  • Communicate with doctors;
  • Manage medications;
  • Set goals and self-monitor;
  • Eat healthy; and/or how to
  • Be active.

Who Can Benefit from Self-Management Education?

Anyone living with one or more chronic health conditions can benefit from participating in a self-management education program, such as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. SME programs have been proven to reduce symptoms of ongoing health problems and to improve quality of life.

There is strong evidence across many studies that participants experience several beneficial health outcomes, including greater energy, increased participation in physical activity, improved health status, reduced pain symptoms, and improved psychological well-being. Participants also report enhanced communication and partnerships with physicians and greater confidence that they can take actions to affect their own health.

For more details and to sign up for Self-Management Education in the DC Metro area, visit:

Live Well Virginia website

Living Well Maryland website

Living Well DC website

Hope this helps!

Hayek

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.