Improving Health: My Way is an Eastern Health program for people living with any type of health problem for a long time, often referred to as chronic condition or chronic disease. Some of these health problems include:
|Asthma||Heart Disease||Chronic Fatigue
|Parkinson’s Disease||Congestive Heart Failure||Hypertension (high
Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
This provincial program is delivered in all four regional health authorities in Newfoundland and Labrador as one part of provincial and regional strategies to address the growing burden of chronic diseases. It focuses on helping individuals, families, and care givers learn how to live better, healthier, happier lives while coping with a long-term health problem by increasing their confidence, knowledge and skills to do just that.
For example, the program can help people learn how to:
- Manage tiredness or fatigue.
- Eat healthier.
- Deal with frustration, depression, pain or isolation.
- Become more active and maintain an exercise program.
- Develop problem solving skills.
- Communicate with family, friends, and health care providers.
- Get more out of life.
The program runs two and a half hours once a week for six weeks and can be offered in any community setting where there are two trained leaders. Master trainers train leaders who often have a chronic health problem themselves.
Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshops
Since starting the program in 2011, Eastern Health has offered seven leader training sessions with two more planned for Fall 2013 in Trepassey and Lethbridge. There are 32 active leaders for the program in the region and we have successfully delivered 29 workshops to date with 262 participants completing the program. There are four workshops planned this fall for Old Perlican, Fox Harbour, Bonavista and St. John’s.
Both program participants and Eastern Health employees are reporting positive feedback about the program. For instance, participants report feeling better prepared to manage their health condition and employees are hearing positive comments from their patients and clients who have participated in the program.
The overall aim of the program is to empower individuals to feel more confident in managing their condition at home with support from health care professionals and to be able to live happy productive lives despite having a long term health problem. Below is an example of some of the evaluation comments received from participants who completed the program:
“I use breathing more to help my pain.”
“I relax more and exercise.”
“I learned I can do more than I thought.”
“I exercise, meditate, became more positive and started a new hobby.”
“I have taken control of my life.”
“I have become more alert, energetic, and look forward to the future.”
Along with four master trainers, Eastern Health has some current and former employees participating in the program as leaders and as participants. Improving Health: My Way is another example of good things happening right here at Eastern Health.
If you have a chronic disease, please consider the following tips:
- Set a weekly goal for yourself and do it.
- Think positively.
- Get back to basics: get plenty of rest, eat well, exercise, and stop smoking.
- Get support from family, friends and professionals to help you with your goal.
- Do things you enjoy more often.
- Spend time with family and friends.
- Practice deep breathing daily.
- Attend Improving Health My Way chronic disease self-management program.
To learn more about upcoming workshops and leader training in Eastern Health, you can call (709) 752-3946 or toll free at 1-866-880-8998.
Schedules are available on the Eastern Health’s website. ■
This story was written by Janet Fisher, a master trainer with Improving Health: My Way and primary health care manager in Bonavista.