Chronic Disease Self Management Program
Every now and then, I will spark up a conversation with friends, relatives, or colleagues that leads to talking about health issues. Usually this is in the context of someone’s current job or talking about family members who are not doing so well. In these conversations, I always find myself recommending that they look into the Chronic Disease Self Management Program, or CDSMP.
CDSMP was developed by Dr. Kate Lorig at Stanford University. It’s a fantastic community-based program, that the Kansas Arthritis Program is funded to promote throughout the state. The best description of CDSMP is that it is a highly interactive workshop where people with various chronic conditions come together to learn and practice new skills over a six week period to manage their chronic condition. The participants meet once a week for 2 ½ hours to discuss and problem solve a variety of topics relevant to coping with chronic conditions. These can include safely exercising, making healthy food choices, communication with family, friends and health care providers, dealing with difficult emotions, setting and achieving weekly goals, and identifying and solving problems that are due to having a chronic condition.
The workshop is facilitated by two trained leaders who guide the participants through four to six topics each week and participants are encouraged put the information gained in each session to use immediately. They also share their successes in dealing with a variety of topics so participants can learn from each other and build their confidence in managing their chronic condition. The sessions do not focus on the medical aspect a disease but rather how to manage the emotional, physical and social challenges of having a chronic condition. Family members and/or friends of participants are encouraged to attend the workshop in order to increase their understanding of the challenges associated with living with a chronic condition on a daily basis.
CDSMP is an evidence-based program, meaning that it has been found to be effective based on the results of rigorous evaluations. These evaluations have shown that participants have increased physical activity, improvements in cognitive symptom management, improved communication with physicians, and improved overall health, among other positive outcomes.
As the Arthritis Program evaluator, I go through all of the participant evaluations from the workshops in Kansas and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. For some participants, attendance in a CDSMP workshop had been a life-changing experience – this is the very reason I wanted to share some in-depth information about CDSMP in Alumni Notes. You can learn more about CDSMP by visiting Standford’s website, the Kansas Arthritis Program website, or the CDSMP Consortium website for workshops in Minnesota.