Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Background

 

Chronic health conditions aredefined as diseases of long duration, generally slow progressionand require considerable self management support.
 
Many terms are used interchangeably with chronic health conditions. The most common are chronic diseases, chronic illness, and chronic health problems.
 
The three most prevalent chronic health conditions are cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, followed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, depression and anxiety, and arthritis (CNA, 2005).
 
Self-management is an approach to improving outcomes which means individuals, in collaboration with nurses and other health-care professionals assume greater responsibility for health care decisions such as:
·         Monitoring and managing the signs and symptoms of disease
·         Engaging in health and lifestyle behaviours and taking medications appropriately
·         Maintaining regular contact with health care providers
 
Successful management of chronic conditions can be addressed through self-management support where assistance is given to clients with chronic disease in order to:
·         encourage daily decisions that improve health-related behaviours and clinical outcomes.
·         obtain the education, skill and confidence required to effectively manage their condition,
·         increase their confidence in the ability to change
·         become informed about their conditions
·         take an active role in treatment (Bodenheimer, MacGregor & Sharifi, 2005)
 

Nurses can provide Self management support to patients/clients by: client education and developing and delivering self management programs.