Self Management Training Project making a difference

The statistics are startling!!  One in three Ontarians have one or more chronic diseases.  Of those over the age of 65, almost four out of five have one chronic disease and of those about 70 per cent suffer from two or more.*  Chronic diseases are rarely cured completely and may impact a person's life for many years. Examples of chronic disease include heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and arthritis.  People with chronic conditions spend an estimated average of 12 hours with health service providers in the course of an entire year and so how people manage their symptoms, their medication, their diet and their physical activity during the other 364.5 days has a powerful impact on their well-being and health outcomes.

The Central East LHIN's Self-Management Training Program  - "Living a Healthy Life with chronic conditions" - is just one of the Priority Projects that the Central East LHIN funded as part implementing the Integrated Health Service Plan (IHSP).  Identified as a priority by the Durham North Central Collaborative and sponsored by the Central East Community Care Access Centre, the project is now underway and aims to deliver self-management workshops to 2,700 consumers and caregivers region-wide,  in a variety of community and health care settings over the next three years.

In August, volunteers from the Peterborough and Scarborough communities attended Peer Leader Training programs so thaPeterborough Teamt they could learn how to lead one of the 20 workshops scheduled for the fall.    Faciliatated by Stanford Master Trainer Maria Chu from the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care and Self Management Project Manager Margery Konan in Scarborough and Trainer Linda Kloosterman from Baxter Canada and Konan in Peterborough, the Peer Leader Training program resulted in 34 graduates.

For Scaroborough participant Beverley Seaton the decision to become a volunteer Peer Leader was easy after retiring from a long career in Health Promotion and Food and Nutrition.

"Being a baby boomer myself I see a lot more people becoming the age that I am who want to take charge of their own health and destiny," she said.  "I can share my learnings with that type of person."

Peer Leaders ScarboroughKamala Liyanage belongs to a Tamil Seniors Group in Scarborough called Vasantham that meets once a week in a seniors building.  With the training materials for the self management program now translated into Tamil, she plans to take what she has learned back to her friends at Vasantham.

"I'm glad that I joined this training program," she said.  "I gained so much that I didn't know."

Each 6-week self-management workshop empowers people to develop new skills and tools to break the vicious cycle of symptoms that can be the result of living with chronic conditions and helps to translate knowledge into effective actions via short-term goals and increasing self-efficacy or confidence in one’s ability to accomplish a task.  Registration is now open for the fall workshops and information can be found on the Health Service Provider Calendar section of the Central East LHIN website. 

Other upcoming events include a Training Program for French speaking Peer Leaders which will be held in October and a presentation on the Central East Self Management Training Program at the "Taking Charge of Our Health" self-management conference being held at the Marriott Toronto Airport Hotel.  The Central East LHIN will host a reception at the conference on October 23, from 5 to 7 PM in order to meet with other  colleagues working on self-management in different parts of the province and to discuss ways to incorporate the knowledge gained from the conference into the work 'back home.'  




*Ontario Health Quality Council