I recently had an opportunity to participate in an engagement table discussing collaborative care planning as a patient rep. My participation was part of the Patients as Partners initiative (they have a monthly activity guide on their website with ways to get involved.)
Over the course of the day, I became aware of some great resources I didn’t know even existed that I thought might be helpful for those with chronic pain or ongoing health issues and the fine people who support them. I shared them on my personal Facebook but wanted to create a central spot to help my friends find them on my blog. Check these folks out:
Self-Management BC has 6 week programs they deliver both online and in the community to support patients in managing ongoing physical and mental health conditions and also specifically diabetes. They also have a coaching program you can get involved with. This is a program run through UVIC via a satellite office in Ladner. You can check out their information handouts here. This is a video about the program:
I love this tool because it’s so action oriented. It helps you track your pain so when the doctor asks “How has your pain been?” you have some better data than whatever your brain remembers in the moment. It also helps you build an action plan to self-manage. There are tons of helpful videos to help you learn more about chronic pain and how to manage it. Here is an example:
If you are a pain patient who needs help with non-medical issues like income, isolation, housing, employment, food security, child care, education, recreation or other issues there are trained volunteers who can help you connect with resources. You call in, tell them what you’re trying to problem solve, and then they do research to help you find solutions. It’s confidential and volunteers have received 30 hours of training and are generally new health care practitioners entering the field. It isn’t a crisis line or an emergency number, but it can point you in the right direction for important non-medical issues so you can focus on self-managing your pain.
Family Caregivers of BC has a lot of services and programming to help people who provide care for family members with chronic health conditions. The provide tele workshops and webinars to help with skill development (webinars can be re-watched later, because life as a caregiver can be unpredictable.) They also have a support line you can call if you need support around the emotional demands of your caregiving. They have a lot of support and resource formats and they were really clear that they have capacity and are accepting referrals.
Icon is a multi-cultural information resource that is community driven and provides information to help patients manage health conditions in a variety of languages and targeting different cultural groups. The information can be accessed on television, radio, in print and online. Here is a video that explains more what they do:
PainBC is a non-profit that helps people manage their pain and supports family caregivers and health care practitioners by providing helpful information. They have supports, coaching, self-management tools, and a very complete toolbox. They have a listing of support groups both online and in person.
You’ll notice a theme around self-management and that word can be a bit scary. When you look at it, you might think, “Does that mean I’m on my own with this and people don’t want to help me?” Gah. No. That’s not what it means. Below is a handy video that explains self-management that was produced by the Centre for Collaboration, Motivation, & Innovation (They also made this cool worksheet about decision making that I thought was clever.)
Anyways, I hope these resources are helpful to you and your family and that you can find some balance and comfort in managing ongoing health conditions and achieve better quality of life (because that’s what health is all about, right? Not just the absence of disease but the presence of meaningful life.)