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Published on October 25, 2009

Mercy partnering w/ Heritage Area Agency on Aging to Sustain Chronic Disease Program

Mercy is one of few U.S. hospitals invited to partner with the Stanford University program

Mercy Medical Center is joining in a new partnership with Heritage Area Agency on Aging to sustain a Stanford University evidence-based Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP). The collaborative community-based program includes a structured six-week course taught once a week by two specially-trained ‘peer leaders.' The course, "Successful Living with Chronic Conditions," takes a comprehensive approach to helping patients and their caregivers learn healthy ways to live with chronic conditions.

People living with conditions such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, lung disease, emphysema, stroke, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and osteoporosis may benefit from the course.

The six-week course empowers patients to:

  • Manage symptoms
  • Better communicate with their physician, dietitian or nurse
  • Reduce frustration
  • Fight fatigue
  • Make daily tasks easier
  • Incorporate appropriate breathing exercises
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Take back control of their condition

Outcomes from this evidence-based program have shown decreased emergency room visits and hospitalizations, increased activity levels, less stress and overall better self efficiency. Patients have also shown positive changes in health management, and less pain, worry and health distress. Stanford University data shows that after one year in the program participants had no decline in their activity levels and less distress and fatigue.

The Stanford project had been funded for the last three years through a grant from the Department of Elder Affairs in partnership with Heritage Area Agency on Aging. The goal of that three year funding was to find community support and financial sustainability to keep the program intact. Mercy has stepped forward to sustain the CDSMP program as a collaborative community effort. It is now among the programs offered through Mercy's new Health Promotion, Prevention and Chronic Care Department.

Those interested in learning more about the program should call 319-398-6012.