Central East LHIN Self-Management Program Hosts Conference for Health Care Providers

Health care providers received a valuable opportunity to learn and apply best practices regarding engaging patients with chronic illness to adopt healthy behaviors, at a one-day conference recently hosted by the Central East LHIN Self-Management Program in November.

Titled, “Understanding the Patient Experience: The Key to Promoting Healthy Behaviour Change,” the conference attracted participants from hospitals across the Central East region as well as community organizations and the Central East CCAC. 

“Increasingly, health care is faced with the challenge of understanding and managing chronic diseases with an aging population, complex care needs, and limited resources. Addressing this problem is critical to our sustainable health care system,” said Central East CCAC CEO Don Ford, a comment supported by Central East LHIN CEO Deborah Hammons. The Central East LHIN Self-Management Program operates out of the Central East CCAC’s Scarborough branch.
The day’s program focused on how health care professionals can communicate with their patients in meaningful ways, in order to understand the patient experience and support individualized care plans that will meet that person’s individual needs. “Health care providers are crucial in ensuring that patients have the resources, skills and confidence to meet their health goals. Engaging patients produces far better outcomes then simply providing them with information and treatment instructions,” said Natasha Beckles, Coordinator for Professional Education for the CE LHIN Self-Management Program.

The conference’s morning session included a patient key note speaker and a “patient experience” exercise where nine community members living with chronic disease shared their experience with conference attendees.  “We can learn so much from our patients,” commented Don Ford.  

Harlon Davey, the patient keynote speaker remarked, “Patient-Centred Care also includes understanding the individual, and building trust between the patient and their caregivers.  From my experience at this event, Central East LHIN is in a league of its own in this area.”

Michele Nanchoff, psychologist and Institute for Healthcare Communication Regional Consultant gave a compelling talk about “Clinician-Patient Communication” stressing the importance of building healthy and strong relationships with patients.  She shared evidence-based research supporting the importance of effective communication.

Some Central East LHIN Self-Management Program partners including The Scarborough Hospital, Lakeridge Health and the Diabetes Regional Coordination Centre, spoke about the strategies that they have pursued in order to engage the patients with chronic conditions.  In the afternoon close to 70 people participated in small group interactive coaching circles to learn specific skills that will help them engage patients.

The conference was held as part of the Ontario Diabetes Strategy Self-Management Project which has provided funding to 14 LHIN regions to deliver self-management support training to health care providers.   Self-management support involves “a range of organizational, community and provider strategies to support the active participation of individuals in achieving their best health and wellness.” (Ontario Diabetes Strategy Self-Management Working Group, 2010)

The Central East LHIN Self-Management Program partners with numerous health care organizations in the LHIN to deliver free self-management workshops to patients with chronic conditions (“Living a Healthy Life” workshops) and links patients with chronic conditions to ongoing supports after the workshops.   To date over 3,050 local residents have completed the six-week program and 178 have been certified to lead future workshops.  The workshops are offered in English, Tamil, Cantonese and Mandarin.

In addition, over 400 health care providers have attended some of the 34 workshops that have been held for physicians, nurses and other front-line staff.  These health care provider workshops called “Choices & Changes: Clinician Influence, Patient Action”  have resulted in 33 individuals forming a faculty of “Choices & Changes” facilitators in the Central East LHIN to support ongoing education.

Clinicians who have taken the “Choices & Changes” workshops also are encouraged to participate in ongoing self-management education offered by the program such as this recent conference.

Equipping health care providers with the tools and skills they need to provide self-management support is just one aspect of the Central East LHIN Self-Management Program.  Margery Konan, Senior Manager of the Central East LHIN Self-Management Program spoke about the program’s vision: “to empower people living with chronic conditions to achieve their optimal well‐being. This involves introducing and integrating self-management approaches into the health care system at all levels and into community settings.”

For more information about the Central East LHIN Self-Management Program, please go to www.healthylifeworkshop.ca or call 1 866 971 5545.