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What is self-management?

These days there are many definitions of the term self-management. Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA (AOWA) believes that the definiton that coined the phrase in 1976 is still as relevant today as it was when it appeared in an article on asthma self-cate by pediatrician Dr Thomas Creer and colleagues.

“Their understanding was that ‘self-management’ meant that the patient was an active participant in their treatment.”

At AOWA, self-management means having the skills and knowledge to make informed health choices in partnership with your health care professionals. There is clear evidence that leanring about your condition and obtaining the skills to self-manage assists people to lead active and emotionally staisfying lives, as well as complementing any medical treatement and rehabillitation.

AOWA has been involved in developing and running a variety of self-management programs for people with arthritis since the 1990s when the first generic program initially funded by the Arthritis Foundation of America arrived in Australia from Stanford University. Since then, AOWA has moved on and designed and devloped its own diseases specific programs, which is a first in Australia.

These programs are evidence based and stick to strict research criteria (Curtin and UWA) before being offered as a service program. Results from the research programs have shown improvements in managing pain, in quality of life and medicine compliance and have been published by reputable peer review journals and presented at the most prestigious nationhal and international rheumatology conferences.

The disease specfic education and self-managment programs we offer are for Oseteoarthritis of the Knee (OAK) Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis (RA-P) and Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS-P). Each program runs for two and a half hours each week for six weeks.

Program contents are disease specific, but in general include learning about the condition, medication, nutrition, pain management, complimentary/alternative therapies, exercise, strategies to cope with depression and how to manage fatigue and flares. Self-management strategies include goal setting, problem solving, relaxation and distraction techniques.

Research has shown individuals who attend these programs are equipped with the knowledge and skills that allow them to take an active role in managing their disease. They are more accepting of suggested interventions by their clinicians, and retain a better quality of life for longer than individuals who are not well informed about their condition.

AOWA programs are offered every term and cost $35 (individual) or $40 (with support person).

Bookings are essential by calling 1800 011 041 or online here


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