Chronic Disease Self Management Programme (CDSMP)

Chronic Disease Self Management  Programme (CDSMP)

The CDSMP is a group skills based programme, designed and licenced by Stanford University. It consists of a series of six workshops run over a six week period. (Each session is 2.5 hours.) The purpose is to help patients with chronic disease (or diseases) to better manage their condition(s) in addition to their medical treatment. During the six week programme emphasis is placed on weekly action planning and problem solving.

Matt Cullen shared his impressions about how it was

The course is run by a healthcare professional and a patient with a chronic illness. Both of which would have completed a training course (CDSMP) approved by Stanford University. Concerning the course I helped to run, the main tutor is a psychologist from the Mater Hospital, Dublin and I assisted as a co-tutor. I volunteered to help run the course which was from April to May 2018 and it consisted of the following;

• Overview of self Management and Long Term Health Conditions

• Using your mind to manage symptoms

• Getting a good night’s sleep

• Making an action plan

• Feedback and problem solving

• Dealing with difficult emotions

• Physical activity and exercise

• Preventing falls

• Making decisions

• Pain and fatigue management

• Better breathing

• Healthy eating

• Communications skills

• Medication usage

• Making informed treatment decisions

• Dealing with depression

• Working with your healthcare professional and system

• Weight management

• Future plans

 Some of the participants that completed the CDSMP were very happy with it, because they said they could do more to help themselves as a result of completing the course. Participants generally felt that it helped having a person with a chronic illness (or illnesses) as a co-tutor running the course because they perceived there was a genuine empathy with their chronic condition(s). That is not to say the tutor running the programme did not have an empathy with the course participants, he did indeed. However, during two weeks of the course I had a “flare up” of RA which was difficult for me as I was in some pain whilst completing the sessions. I believe it helped participants relate because of the regular (or daily) pain some of them would experience due to their chronic illness.

 All the participantsnts that attended the CDSMP had chronic medical conditions such as; Multiple Sclerosis, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, fibromyalgia, and Parkinson’s Disease. Some found it hard to attend due to the distance they had to travel and/or the problems they encountered with their illness and also because of medical appointments they needed to attend to. Consequently, some did not finish the course. The course was provided free of charge to patients with a chronic illness who were attending the Mater Hospital. It was run in a classroom in the hospital complex.

 On balance, it is a good course especially if patients attending it feel they can do more (or have more control over their chronic condition) on completion of the programme. It is not a course that may suit everyone, because in my view it is very“scripted”. By that I mean, the tutors running the course need to go strictly by the course manual provided by Stanford University. However, I can understand the rationale for it, as there could be up to 14 patients attending the course and the time for each session is tight.