Self-management Support for Long-term Health Conditions

A long-term health condition is one which can be treated and managed but usually not cured. Examples include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart conditions and stroke. Having a long-term health condition usually brings change to a person’s life.

People with long-term health conditions have an important role in their own healthcare. Family members or carers may also have a role to play. It is important that people have a full understanding of their condition. They need to know how to manage it and how it will affect their life.

What is Self-management?

Self-management is what a person with a long-term health condition does every day. This may include:

  • recognising and dealing with symptoms (known as monitoring your condition)
  • taking medication(s)
  • managing other treatments
  • attending various appointments
  • making lifestyle changes
  • coping with the emotional effects of the condition

To do this well a person needs to have the right information, education, support and services. Learning how to manage your condition may help you feel better, stay active and live well.

What is Self-management Support?

Self-management support aims to increase a person’s knowledge, confidence and skills when looking after their health. Self-management support is about helping people to

  • learn more about their condition
  • set goals, problem solve and make plans to live a healthier life

Self-management support is not a one off but is an on-going part of the care of a long-term health condition.

There are many different types of self-management support. Some examples include:

  • Regular reviews by different members of your healthcare team
  • Information on your condition
  • Action plans, for use when symptoms get worse e.g. asthma action plan or COPD communication plan
  • Group-based Diabetes education. Examples include Discover Diabetes, DESMOND or CODE for people with Type 2 Diabetes. Berger or DAFNE for people with Type 1 Diabetes
  • Cardiac rehabilitation for people with heart conditions
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation for people with Asthma or COPD
  • Lifestyle change supports. Examples include stop smoking services or supports to increase physical activity levels
  • Support with dealing with the emotional aspects of long-term health conditions for example counselling
  • Support groups such as Cardiac Support Groups, Diabetes Support Groups and COPD support groups
  • Social Prescribing or Health and wellbeing community referral
  • Chronic Disease self- management programmes such as the HSE Living Well programme

Resources for People living with a Long-term Health Condition

The Self-management Support Co-ordinators in the HSE have produced a number of resources. These resources support people to live well with a long-term health condition. They can be found here

Resources for Healthcare Professionals

The Self-management Support Co-ordinators in the HSE have produced a number of resources. These resources support healthcare professionals working with people living with long-term health conditions. They can be found here

Living Well Programme

Living Well is a free group self-management programme. It supports people to develop the skills which help them to live well with their long-term health condition. Further information can be found here