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 - A Programme for Adults with Long-term Health Conditions

Living Well is a free group self-management programme for adults with chronic or long-term health conditions. Over 6 weeks, this HSE programme supports people to develop the confidence and skills, which help them to live well with their health condition(s).

Further information about the Living Well programme, what is covered and how to register or refer can be found here