Improving Clients’ Health through Collaboration
DuPagePads Offers Chronic Disease Self-Management Series
DuPagePads is encouraging their clients who are homeless to choose better health through offering six-week Chronic Disease Self-Management workshops. Through a partnership with the DuPage County Health Department and Age Options, DuPagePads hosts this free, educational series.
Chronic health conditions include hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), congestive heart failure, arthritis and mental health illness. In 2016, of the individuals DuPagePads served, 370 reported having at least one of these conditions and 517 reported having a mental health illness.
These conditions are often exacerbated by homelessness itself: not having stable housing, being food insecure, transportation issues, experiencing harsh weather conditions and a lack of social connectedness all negatively impact one’s health.
When chronic health conditions are not managed properly, program participants end up being hospitalized or using the emergency room. Not only is the client’s health suffering, but it is costlier to taxpayers than if the client had been regularly accessing primary care from a physician.
Topics covered at DuPagePads Chronic Disease Self-Management workshops include how to:
- use medications effectively
- manage your symptoms
- handle difficult emotions
- communicate about your health
- solve problems effectively
- use relaxation techniques for reducing stress
- work with your healthcare team
- exercise safely and easily
Michelle, a tenant in one of DuPagePads Supportive Housing programs, recently completed the workshop and says,
“What I really enjoyed about this series was the relaxation techniques I learned and how the mind and body are so directly related. Now, I am always listening to my relaxation cd and my grandson is enjoying it too!”
In addition to providing insight and resources to those served, the workshop also has seen tangible results. When DuPagePads first offered this educational series last year, clients completed an initial survey and indicated 24 visits to the emergency room in the six months prior to attending the program. When workshop participants were asked six months after the workshop, that number had dropped to five.
Based on the overwhelming positive feedback and results, DuPagePads will continue to offer this program to participants.
“Recently I saw Peter, one of our Supportive Housing tenants, coming from his last Chronic Disease Self-Management session and I almost didn’t recognize him.
His face and skin had a clarity I had never seen in him before. He told me he still had some bad days with his health, but that the good ones outweigh them. He took off his hat and showed me that he had dyed his hair red to hide the grey. Not only is he feeling better, but he is feeling good about himself.
Managing chronic diseases is so important for the population we serve and this workshop goes a long way in helping participants not only survive their health challenges, but thrive,” Carol Simler, DuPagePads President & CEO shares.