When people encounter health issues, many times they put life on hold until things can “get back to normal.” During this time, they may stop doing the things they enjoy and stop being physically active because they may no longer able to do things “the way they used to.”
This may have been okay in the beginning but when their health condition continues month after month or year after year, people start to feel isolated from family and friends.
Some may even experience symptoms of depression in addition to the day-to-day symptoms of their health condition.
There can be a lot of challenging emotions such as anger, frustration, or guilt, and many mourn the loss of things they “used to be able to do.”
There are classes available that help you manage through the day with chronic issues, to help people get their daily life back. The class offers people tools they can use to live their lives despite their chronic health conditions.
Even though things may not be exactly how they were in the past, people are surprised to find what they still accomplish after making some simple changes, said Rebbi Burdett, RN, a self-management program coordinator for Intermountain Healthcare.
The Intermountain Living Well Self-Management Programs are evidence-based programs originally developed by Stanford University and have been shown to improve self-efficacy, life satisfaction, and resourcefulness, said Burdett.
Classed can be attended by not only the individual with the chronic/long-term condition but also by their family member or support person.
The Intermountain programs Include: Living Well with Chronic Conditions, Living Well with Chronic Pain, Living Well with Diabetes.
All classes are provided for free to the community, available in Spanish, and accessible in a variety of ways. Sessions are mainly being taught online in live virtual class settings or via telephone conference calls. In-person classes have started to return as well.
“During class, we not only introduce new methods to manage day-to-day symptoms, but we also create a safe, inclusive environment for people to try these new techniques,” said Burdett. “Classes provide an opportunity for people to interact with other individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and face similar barriers. We have found that even though people may not have the same chronic health condition, the challenges and day-to-day symptoms they are dealing with are quite similar.”
The Living Well with Chronic Conditions is a great foundational class for any type of long-term health condition. This can include high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety, arthritis, really any type of condition that is long and sustained.
Living Well with Chronic Pain is geared towards those with all types of long-term pain conditions. Those with low back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, and migraines, are just a selection of pain issues that people with these issues can benefit from registering.
During the 6-week program you will learn:
- Learn how decision making and problem-solving skills can help you adjust & adapt
- Understand how to read food labels and ways to change eating habits
- Practice skills like open communication and coping with difficult emotions
- Learn breathing exercises and other physical activities that can improve symptoms
Self-management tools are becoming a foundational element of many integrated care models for various types of health conditions, such as chronic pain and diabetes. By providing these free classes, it makes this type of care more accessible for all populations.
Classes can be attended by not only the individual with the chronic/long-term condition but also by their family member or support person. It’s encouraged to attend class together, as it created the opportunity for dialog on certain topics that are often challenging. But there is always welcome to attend individually as well.
“Coming to class allows people to provide and give support to others and share tips and advice on things that they have found useful,” Burdett said. “Numerous participants have said that the sense of community and belonging that they felt from the group gave them hope for the future. It let them know that they weren’t alone.
Virtual classes are a great option for those who are familiar with technology and have access to a smart device with a webcam. But telephone options are good for those who may not be comfortable with technology or don’t have access to reliable internet or a smart device with a webcam.
Classes are available at www.LivingWell.Utah.gov or by calling 801-442-5544.
This story contains sponsored content.