Older adults and people with disabilities are disproportionately affected by chronic illness. According to the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, almost 91% of older adults live with at least one chronic condition and almost 75% have at least two. In a 30-day period, people with disabilities experience an average of nine days of restricted activity due to health challenges, more than four times the rate of their counterparts without a disability
Through the You Can! Live Well, Virginia! Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) programs, individuals coping with chronic diseases can take steps to improve their overall health, feel better, and live life to the fullest. The core CDSME program is the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP).
Developed by Stanford University, CDSMP is a six week, 2.5 hour workshop that offers tools and information to help people manage their chronic illnesses and participate more fully in life. There is strong evidence across many studies that CDSMP 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.
Long-term, CDSMP has been shown to reduce healthcare costs by decreasing the number of emergency room visits, the number of hospital admissions, and hospital length of stay.
Through this supportive interactive workshop, often led by others with chronic conditions, participants learn about a variety of topics, such as
Healthy eating and exercise choices
Evaluating new treatment choices
Appropriate use of medications
Effective ways to talk with healthcare professionals and loved ones
Most importantly, participants help each other through brainstorming and problem-solving as they develop weekly achievable action plans. Classes are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.