elderly couple hugging

In the Fall of 2017, Coffeyville Regional Medical Center’s (CRMC) Primary Care Medical Group partnered with Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (GPQIN) to offer self-management education workshops in their community. These free evidence-based workshops are offered over the course of six weeks and each workshop is up to 2.5 hours. The target audience is Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers, specifically those managing chronic conditions or pain. However, the workshops are open to the public. CRMC also offers Chronic Disease Self-Management Education and Diabetes Self-Management Education workshops.

The interactive workshops increase self-confidence for managing symptoms and understanding the daily impact of living with a chronic condition. Medical treatment is never altered and participants are always directed to follow physicians’ orders and discuss concerns with their healthcare provider. The workshops are designed to complement clinical treatment and disease-specific education.

Kelle Kiser, RN, Chronic Care Nurse at CRMC leads the program in Montgomery County. After being trained herself, Kiser recruited nine others from the area who wanted to be trained. Great Plains QIN master trainers were able to visit Coffeyville to offer the training. Kiser added, “I am always looking for an opportunity to help my patients. Sometimes I am just an extra blanket of protection for the elderly in the navigation of their healthcare.” This program helps her help her patients.

Tami Sterling, Quality Improvement Consultant with GPQIN said, “Montgomery County is the perfect example of the vision we have for the Self-Management Education programs in Kansas. We are able to provide resources and assist in bringing the programs to the community, but it takes a champion in the community to make the program successful. Montgomery County is lucky to have community leaders working diligently to bring the evidence-based workshops to the area.”

The main purpose of the self-management education workshops is to help individuals take charge of their health, understand the importance of managing their health conditions and their daily lives. Participants learn better ways to communicate with friends, family and provides, how to deal with anger and difficult emotions, exercise tips for maintaining and improving strength and endurance, using their minds to better manage symptoms, goal setting, problem solving and coping.

Sterling, master trainer for the program said, “Sometimes dealing with a chronic condition can seem impossible. The participant’s focus is often their pain or bringing down an A1C result. Using items in the “Self-Management Tool Box” we break down how to better deal with the pain they are experiencing and steps they can take to improve their A1C. Participants learn while they can’t change everything overnight, they can do small things every day. Many of these things they already know how to do or learn how to do in the workshop to help them improve and take back control of their lives.”

Montgomery County holds workshops on a revolving schedule. While teaching one class, they already are planning for the next program. It is ideal to always have a class scheduled so participants can be immediately referred. While it is fresh in their mind, they know when and where the next program will start and can make plans to attend. It also makes it easier to refer a friend or family member.