What is the Living Well workshop? Living Well supports disease specific education but does not replace it. Developed by Stanford University, Living Well is a Chronic Disease Self-Management program which is evidence-based. The program is a 6-session interactive workshop that helps people who have on-going health problems learn how to take control of their health. Participants learn how to take small steps towards positive changes and healthier living. They build confidence and the ability to manage day-to-day life.
Who is Living Well for? The workshop is for anyone with a long-term health condition such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, arthritis, anxiety, and many other conditions. . The workshops deal with the issues that everyone living with long-term health conditions faces. In the Living Well class, Leaders assist participants in learning how to:
1. Manage medications
2. Deal with difficult emotions
3. Eat well
4. Control pain
5. Set and accomplish goals
6. Fight fatigue and frustration
7. Start an exercise program
8. Manage stress and relax
9. Solve problems
10. Communicate better with their doctor,
family and friends
In the workshop, participants learn from people who also have on-going health problems. The workshop leaders are people just like the participants who have been specially trained to lead the group. It is preferred that Leaders of the Living Well workshops are regular people with a long-term health condition who have attended a Leader training, rather than people who have been formally trained in health education or a health related field. They understand the challenges of living with a long-term health problem and the issues participants face. They have experience managing their health and using the skills listed above that participants will learn.
What are the evaluation results?
-Fewer visits to the ER
-Self-rated health status improved
-Improvements in exercise, pain management and communication with physicians
-Greater energy and few social role limitations
For most of her adult life, Diane didn’t worry much about her health. Then at 67, she was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. She tried to follow her doctor’s advice to take her medications, be physically active, and eat better. But often she was tired and even a little depressed. “I figured it was just part of getting older,” she recalls.
Then a friend told Diane about the Living Well Workshop. Developed at Stanford University, the six-week workshop has been offered at hundreds of locations throughout the United States. It helps participants with ongoing health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and many other conditions to:
· Find practical ways to manage symptoms and difficult emotions resulting from long-term health conditions
· Discover better nutrition and physical activity choices
· Learn the appropriate use of medications
· Communicate effectively with family, friends and health professionals
· Evaluate new treatment choices
· Learn real-life skills for living a full, healthy life with a long-term health condition
· Feel better about life
“I now have a new sense of being in control,” said Diane, “The Workshop has really helped me feel better and more confident.”
Taught by specially trained leaders, many of who have health conditions themselves, the program covers various topics each week and provides opportunities for interaction and group problem solving. “We are really more like coaches,” says Carrie, a leader. “The answer to someone’s question is usually in the room.”