A self-management program for veterans and spouses living with Parkinson’s disease

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Abstract

A self-management program for veterans and spouses living with Parkinson’s disease

Aims and objectives.

The objective of this study was to determine whether Veterans and their spouses would participate in a self-management educational programme where they would practise the principles of self-efficacy for managing their chronic illnesses. The programme was designed using the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Background.

Whereas programmes for self-management of chronic conditions (arthritis, AIDS, diabetes) have been established for some time, only a few specific programmes for Parkinson’s disease had been cited in the literature at the time of this study. In this report, we describe our initial attempts at recruitment, administration and evaluation of this programme for a small group of participants with the specific intent of assessing its feasibility and appropriateness for Veterans seen in an outpatient setting.

Conclusions.

Our study revealed that participants were willing to commit to an intensive interventional programme, and within the group setting were able to apply the principles of self-efficacy with guidance from their peers and facilitator. The support of the group was a strong motivator for continued participation and the practice of self-management skills. However, the progression of Parkinson’s disease and the lack of long-term follow-up prevented the identification of measurable significant changes.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Patients living with chronic illness appear to benefit from group educational programmes, and this format could be adapted for others living with neurodegenerative illnesses and other chronic conditions.

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