Do you know anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes? If so, chances are that they have been to classes with a Certified Diabetes Educator. In these classes, they learn a lot about how to self-manage their condition. Diabetes educators share information with patients about managing their blood glucose levels, nutrition, and diabetes-related health conditions.
In recent years, these self-management programs have expanded into other areas of medicine. At the time of this writing,they are still in their infancy. Hopefully in this era of pain medication shortages and excessive regulations, this avenue of approach will help those with chronic disease, especially those with chronic pain. The workshop for chronic pain, for instance, addresses the following:
1) techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, isolation, and poor sleep
2) appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance,
3) appropriate use of medications,
4) communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals,
6) pacing activity and rest,
7) how to evaluate new treatments.
These types of programs were developed by Stanford University, and at this point in time there are agencies all over the world who are licensed to train future instructors for these courses. Some organizations currently offer these workshops to patients; sadly at this point in time it does not seem to be as widespread as one would hope. I am looking into attending one of these trainings and becoming a workshop leader! There are no educational prerequisites; peer leadership is an option!
If you are interested in these programs, here are some informational links:
Stanford University Self Management Programs
National Council of Aging: Better Choices, Better Health