Self-Management for Chronic Illnesses
Updated: Jan 5
Millions of people with chronic diseases (or illnesses) struggle to manage their symptoms day to day. Approximately 1.6 million British Columbians are experiencing at least one or more chronic disease (Health Services Planning Division, Ministry of Health Services).⁴ That's 1 in 3 individuals living in BC!
A s a counsellor in Vancouver, I've noticed how chronic diseases place a significant burden on individuals and their families, as well as health care systems.
Self-management and self-management groups have demonstrated time and again to help older adults better manage their chronic diseases, improve their quality of life, and lower health care costs.²
Self-management relates to the tasks that an individual must undertake to live well with one or more chronic disease. These tasks include gaining confidence to deal with medical management, role management, and emotional management⁵.
Create a self-management practice is like being the CEO of your health. It means putting in the time and effort to feeling good, build up practical skills and become attuned to your health with the goal of improving your overall wellbeing.
By participating in self-management support, it will¹:
give you knowledge and information about disease management (like medication and treatment options)
give you practical experience and strategies to feel better about your health (like daily routines, relaxation tools, confidence boosters)
give you social support by being surrounded by others who are also going through similar life situations
The self-management groups will include topics on²:
Deal with frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation
Ways to maintain and improve strength, flexibility, and endurance
How to communicate more effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
Self-Management BC offers free workshops for people living with a chronic disease (see programs).
BC Brain Wellness Program at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC also offers self-management programs (see programs).
Adams, K., Greiner, A. C., & Corrigan, J. M. (2004). Patient Self-Management Support. In The 1st Annual Crossing the Quality Chasm Summit: A Focus on Communities. National Academies Press (US).⁵