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Teaching Patients How to Manage a Chronic Disease: March 20, 2019

After undergoing a triple bypass surgery, Melody Potter-Zimmerman enrolled in the chronic disease management workshop.  “I want to be able to do more and to be able to manage myself instead of others managing me,” she said.

Patients living with diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, anxiety, or like Melody, who recently underwent surgery, can all benefit from the workshop.

“The class focuses on things and skills you need to manage those illnesses, which are things like planning ahead, things like communication—communication with your doctor, with your family, communication with yourself, being in touch with how you feel,” explained Lyn Carlson, a community care coordinator with Lee Health.

The six-week complimentary program educates participants about their chronic disease and teaches them how to manage their symptoms. “I’m feeling the best I have in years, and they are helping me to slow down because my heart’s not ready to do everything that I want,” said Zimmerman.

The class addresses how diet and exercise can also help manage their disease and help them feel better.  “There’s a lot of talk about diet, and we do a lot of meal planning. They like having new ideas, they like feeling positive, and being in control of their health,” said Carlson.

Each week participants are given action plans to help them stay motivated and focused on improving their health.  “It’s a really good moment to know that it makes a difference. At the end of the day when you see that their hypertension is being controlled, they know how to talk to their doctor, they are going to their follow up appointments, it’s amazing.

Combing education and support to help participants live their best life. 

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