HSE Donegal Launch Self-Management Support Website

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(L-R) Tara Cooper, LTC Programme,Clare Hennigan, LTC Programme, Bernie Convey,LTC Programme  Deirdre Moy, LTC Programme Danny McDaid, Cara O'Neill, CHO 1 Head of Health & Wellbeing, Antoinette Doherty, LTC Programme and Maeve McKeon, Self Management Support co-ordinator.

 

A launch event was held on Thursday 8th Feb for the HSE website www.hse.ie/selfmanagementsupport-donegal in the Vestry Hall, St Conal’s, Letterkenny. This is a website for adults in Co Donegal living with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, angina, stroke, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure and many others.  

The official launch was carried out by Co Donegal native Danny McDaid, 2 time Olympian and 4 time national marathon champion.  Danny has for many years championed the cause of Diabetes care in Co Donegal, and he hailed this website as a very important initiative in progressing care for long-term health conditions such as diabetes.

The event was well attended by members of the public, health and social care professionals, and the community and voluntary sector.  

Maeve McKeon, Self-management support coordinator, explained that ‘self-management’ describes the actions the individual must undertake in order to live with a long-term health condition – these include:

  • clinical tasks such as monitoring their fluid balance, testing their blood sugar levels, taking their own blood pressure, using clinical devices and equipment, managing medication regimes.
  • coping with symptoms such as  fatigue, breathlessness or weakness;
  • managing feelings of depression, anxiety and fear
  • dealing with the effects of the condition on their relationships, their employment, their finances and their social lives and roles.  
  • Changing health behaviours, eg stopping smoking, increasing exercise, changing diet

Getting a diagnosis of a long-term health condition can be devastating in itself, and yet the person is expected, overnight,  to become expert in managing all these new, unwelcome facets of their lives.  The time spent face to face with the GP or healthcare professionals is minimal, research suggests it is around 3 hours per year for someone with diabetes.  The expectation is that the person self-manages for the remaining 8757 hours in the year.  There is a clear need to support people to self-manage, and not only the person themselves but their family and carers also.  Self management support interventions aim to develop within the person the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary to become good self-managers.  

Supporting patients with long-term health conditions and their families to self-manage is a priority of the HSE since 2017, with the publication of the framework document: ‘Living well with a chronic condition’.  However Co Donegal is ahead of the curve, with self-management support programmes for adults with long term health conditions already well embedded.  This website is the first of its kind in the country and showcases these 13 free programmes available in Co Donegal to support adults living with long term health conditions to self manage well.  The website is also a platform for reliable and up to date information about conditions, programmes and services

4 in 10 people over 50 years of age in Ireland have at least one long-term condition.  Eight in 10 people over 65 years have a long-term health condition and 6 in 10 over 65 have 2 or more of such conditions.  The odds are short that all of us will need support for living with a long term health condition, whether for ourselves, or for a loved one.  It is hoped this website will be a valuable one-stop shop for anyone seeking guidance and support for living well with long-term health conditions.

There are 13 programmes and services featured on the site. Some are relevant to specific health conditions and others are generic – meaning they offer support for the challenges commonly met by people living with any long-term health condition.  

  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation, for adults living with lung conditions such as COPD
  • DESMOND, for people living with Type 2 Diabetes
  • CODE, for people living with Type 2 Diabetes (delivered by Diabetes Ireland)
  • Stanford ‘Quality of Life’ for people living with any long term health condition, and for carers
  • Confidence to Care, for people living with or caring for someone with a life-limiting condition
  • Social Prescribing: Connecting people with non-medical community supports
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Falls Prevention
  • Stress Control (delivered by Donegal Mind Wellness) for anyone seeking help managing stess
  • Continence Care
  • Carers and Stroke Carers
  • Solas, supporting adults during mental health recovery

Of the hundreds of testimonials gathered from participants in these programmes, one such was selected and read out at the event.  This was from a participant in the Pulmonary Rehab programme:

‘I found it difficult to carry my dinner plate from the kitchen to the living room before I started, I was so easily exhausted.  I was frightened to be by myself because of my breathlessness...I am a new woman now, I can go out for the day, go to the hairdressers which I had stopped doing, catch two buses to visit my daughter, I have gained so much confidence and got my life  back again.  I am delighted and very grateful for being given this opportunity.’

This reflect the aspiration of the self-management support project: empowering and enabling patients to live well with their long-term health conditions.

Last updated on: 09 / 02 / 2018