Your Practice Transformation Companion

Friday, March 2, 2012

Self Management Enters the Primary Care Vernacular

One of the hallmarks of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Patient Centered Health Care Home (PCHCH), and likely any other acronym that arises to emphasize patient-centric care, is self-management support.  Self management is a growing practice in primary care for working with patients with a chronic condition(s).  Self management techniques can also be used with well patients who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What does self management support mean? In a nutshell, it is a means to teach patients to take ownership for their illness or care and live a healthy life with a chronic condition.  Self management support is a proven method to teach problem-solving skills to help patients overcome the physical and emotional problems caused by the disease. Patients learn how to set short term goals that are actionable and specific. Through self management support and active goal setting, patients learn how to take care of their illness, how to carry out normal daily activities and to manage the emotional changes that occur with a chronic condition. By setting small, specific goals, patients become an active participant in their health care and gain a sense of accomplishment and empowerment as they achieve success in managing their illness.

How do patients learn these skills? By working with trained staff in their primary care physician’s (PCP) office. These trained individuals can be any member of the PCP office, both clinical and non-clinical. Another learning method is to take a self-management course that is offered in the local community or through another health care venue. With self management skills, individuals are better equipped to accept responsibility for managing their chronic condition. The key to success in transferring self management skill knowledge, as with most things, is education. What do you have to say about teaching your patients self management skills? PTI wants to hear it.