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CODAC recently finished its first pilot session of an evidence-based curriculum focused on chronic disease self-management.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSM) Group is a highly structured, 2.5-hour weekly workshop designed to provide education and resources for members who are struggling to manage their chronic physical and mental illnesses. This program provides engaging and interactive education for members to become empowered to take control of their health and well-being.

At CODAC, more than 1,500 SMI members live with chronic illnesses in addition to their substance abuse or mental health diagnosis. The top physical medical conditions among members are hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, pulmonary disorders and other neurological disorders.

We know that the correlation between physical and mental health disorders is strong, which is why, in offering a group focused on chronic illness management, members learn to:

  • Self-manage their symptoms
  • Effectively work with their healthcare team
  • Safely use medications and minimize side effects
  • Use community resources
  • Adapt to social activities
  • Talk with friends and family about their disease
    Of the ten members who participated, there were many positive outcomes, including increased healthy behaviors, improved physical symptoms, and better self-sufficiency when managing personal health.

What members experienced:

  • Ava reported never having "a good night's sleep." After using the problem-solving and relaxation techniques, she reported sleeping for more than six hours for the first time in two years.
  • Laura had problems with managing her weight. She began logging her food in a journal and realized that she was over-eating before going to bed. After changing those habits for two weeks, she lost five pounds.
  • Robert states that he was constantly thinking about drinking. Through learning how to change his negative thought patterns, he now practices thinking "I am proud of myself every day I don't drink" instead of "I want to drink every day."

"The most important quality of this curriculum is self-management. Members are truly empowered toward self-determination. They all come out of the experience with a newfound confidence in themselves which thy can take with them wherever life leads them," says Population Health Administrator, Inge Detweiler.