Chronic issues can be helped

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January 15, 2015 9:12 AM

Prairie North Health Region (PNHR) is offering a program for people living with chronic health conditions, by people living with chronic health conditions.

The LiveWell with Chronic Pain workshop will run from Feb. 3 to March 10 every Tuesday from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Prairie North Health Region Co-op Plaza in Lloydminster.

“The people who teach the program are people who’ve taken the program and then they’ve expressed interest in helping others, and also every time they teach the program they help themselves,” said Tara Campbell, PNHR LiveWell program co-ordinator. “Most of the time we have a healthcare provider teaching it but, then we also have lay community members who suffer from a chronic health condition themselves.”

The LiveWell program was created at Stanford University by a professor of medicine who was living with multiple chronic health conditions herself.

“She wanted to develop a program where the ability to help other people struggling with chronic health condition lead a normal, productive life,” said Campbell, who is also a registered nurse and certified diabetic and cardio educator. “We find that this program, if people from the community teach it, the participants come out doing more for themselves.”

The program is designed to help people who are suffering from a variety of conditions, including diabetes, arthritis, depression, multiple sclerosis, anxiety and cancer. Campbell defines chronic conditions as anything that is incurable and lasting more than three months. And although each of these conditions are distinct, she says the seminar’s messages are applicable across the board.

“You may have a different condition, but you have the same struggles and the same issues that you’re trying to deal with living a day-to-day life while affected by a chronic health condition,” Campbell said. “That’s why the program works.”

Some strategies the seminar covers to help people living with these conditions are breathing exercises, medication management, sleep and relaxation techniques, pain and fatigue control, goal setting and problem solving skills.

“There are more things to worry about with a chronic condition,” Campbell said. “You only see your doctor a couple of times a year, but you have to manage it all the time.”

Campbell says that classes range from two to 10 participants, but six is a preferable group size. She says that while the seminars mostly attract those who have chronic conditions themselves, caregivers also attend on occasion. At the end of the session, participants are welcomed to leave anonymous feedback

“When we do our evaluations at the end of the program, the majority are positive,” Campbell said. “They say that they’re now able to cope with their day to day life, they’re able to manage their pain, they’re able to problem solve and anticipate problems and find solution for it.”

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