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At-home program aimed at helping patients with chronic illness

When we're sick, we often seek the comforts of home. But for people with a chronic disease, the sense of not feeling well and the desire to rest can be ongoing. Ironically, this can prevent people with chronic illnesses from leaving their homes to get the assistance they need to feel better and live a more active life.

Programs such as these help patients do the things they need and want to do better

Kate Lorig, DrPH, the driving force behind the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, is well-versed in the insidious nature of chronic illness. As she explained in a previous Scope interview, she was born with a chronic disease and has spent nearly 35 years researching and refining ways to help people manage the symptoms that she understands well.

In a press release today, I describe a clinical trial of the new self-management program designed by Lorig and her team at Stanford Patient Education Research Center for people who want or need to learn at home:

The at-home program being studied is called “My Tool Kit for Active Living with Chronic Conditions,” and is an alternative to Stanford’s classroom-based Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and its online Better Choices, Better Health programs. “Different people learn in different ways,” Lorig said. “The benefit of this study is that it helps us reach people who like to learn at home, or are unable to get out of their house for various reasons.”

Every participant in this trial will receive a free tool kit. This includes the Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions book, an exercise and relaxation CD, a blood-testing kit (for diabetic participants), prepaid envelopes, two questionnaires and instructions on how to use the tool kit. Patients may keep all instructional materials.

People with chronic diseases are eligible to participate in this study if they are 18 or older, live in the United States and are fluent in English. Men and African Americans are strongly encouraged to apply. Adults are ineligible for his study if they are pregnant, have received cancer treatment within the last year, or if they have participated in either the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program or the Better Choices, Better Health programs.

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Programs such as these “help patients do the things they need and want to do better,” Lorig said.

Those interested in participating in the study should call (800) 366-2624, or email ActiveLivingToolKit@stanford.edu.

Holly MacCormick is a writing intern in the medical school’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs. She is a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology at University of California-Santa Cruz.

Previously: “Live Because:” Living a fuller life with chronic illness, Program for managing chronic illness expands nationwideDiabetes prevention program trains youth in chronic disease self-management and Treating joint pain with physical activity, self-management programs

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