Whanganui's long-term condition self management effort applauded

19 July 2013
A recently released Auckland University report has described Whanganui’s self-management programme for those with diabetes and/or other long term conditions as an ‘outstanding success’.
Participants in the programme say working with trained facilitators who can support them as they determine strategies and tools to better manage their condition has completely changed their attitude about living with, and managing, their long term condition/s. They say it has even improved their relationships with family/whanau, friends and health providers.
Whanganui Regional Primary Health Organisation (WRPHO) clinical primary care director Julie Nitschke says a large part of this success is due to Whanganui District Health Board  and WRPHO healthy lifestyles professional advisor Anne Kauika who coordinated the roll-out of the international self management programme (known locally as Piki te ora – Uplifting your Wellbeing) developed by Stanford University.                                                                                                                                             
“Health providers across the Whanganui region are not only working together to ensure participants in the programme have access to ongoing support to better manage their condition/s but they are looking at how we treat long-term conditions from a patient’s point of view rather than from a clinical perspective,” Mrs Nitschke says “Rather than asking what is the matter with you, they’re asking: What matters to you?
“By putting the emphasis on support for those patients who are identifying their needs and strategies for managing their condition/s, we’ve seen some very positive changes in people’s attitude to the way in which they manage their condition.
“Another strength of the programme is the development and training of peer leaders to deliver workshops within their communities. Of the 10 new leaders who recently completed their training, seven are consumers with long-term conditions themselves – consumers keen to support others learning how to manage their conditions better. This ongoing development is enabling the WRPHO to build the number of workshops delivered across the region to meet the needs of long-term condition patients and their whanau.”
Mrs Nitschke says Whanganui’s strong multi-agency, multi-disciplinary teams approach has been a big plus for all concerned.
“For self-management to be effective, we need to take a broad approach and consider a patient’s way of life – their socio-economic situation and any cultural considerations then look at options for support around who and what they might best connect with and respond to.
“Close working relationships have developed between WDHB and WRPHO diabetes nurses, dieticians and pharmacy facilitators. Whanau Ora workers are having a significant impact on diabetes patients in Taihape and Raetihi. And Iwi providers and general practice teams are working collaboratively and effectively helping people manage their diabetes.”