Thursday, 7 June 2012

Realising the need for Self-Management

At the Tackling Long-Term Conditions conference last week, I visited the stand for The COPD Manual. Developed at the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, it is an excellent example of a self-management resource.
The COPD Breathlessness Manual is a 'self-management intervention to reduce hospital admissions and improve psychological well-being.' A condition specific self-management programme, this looks at breathlessness, and provides patients strategies to cope better when the symptoms occur. What is interesting about this project is the way it came into being - it was created primarily by psychologists, with specific input from other clinical teams such as OT's, doctors, nurses and physio's. It is not surprising perhaps that the need for a self-management course was recognised first by the psychologists, but it worrying. Why do clinical doctors not see self-management as a feasible option for patients?
The benefits of self-management really do benefit doctors - this project has reduced A&E attendance by 50% and hospital admissions by 63%. The project is effective, easy to replicate and simple. I hope doctors can spread the word. Psychologists have already taken to it, and the results are there!

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