Location: Province of British Columbia (province-wide)
Program Description: The UVIC Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health Self-Management BC Programs fund and help coordinate a range of free, publicly available self-management programs, training, education sessions, peer supports and resources for patients, families and caregivers. The organization offers FREE Health education programs for adults of all ages living with one or multiple ongoing health conditions. Their programs are offered throughout BC online, by telephone or by mail. They also offer their programs in Chronic Pain, Chronic Conditions, Diabetes and Cancer: Thriving & Surviving as well, they have a Health Coaching Program. There is a core staff at the Ladner Office as well as Regional Program Coordinators, based upon health regions, that work to promote and provide ongoing workshops and programs throughout the Province. Programs are also offered in Punjabi and Chinese as well as programs specific to the Indigenous population.
The program is grant-funded through the BC Ministry of Health and is a partner in the Patients as Partners initiative. As a non-profit, the programs rely on referrals from healthcare providers/facilities/clinics as well as word of mouth. The programs are peer led and are open to patients as well as their family members and caregivers. There are currently 370 volunteer leaders and health coaches that assist in being able to offer these programs throughout the Province of BC. Between April, 2000, and March 31, 2021, 6517 Volunteer Leaders and 41,632 participants have trained and been through the programs.
Program Strengths: Supported by the BC Ministry of Health as well as the Province of BC, the UVIC Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health: Self-Management BC Programs are also a partner in the Patients as Partners initiative which is an initiative to ensure the patient, family and caregiver voice is incorporate at all levels of the health-care system. They have partnerships with many community centres, libraries, Pain Clinics and other community resources throughout the province. When offering in-person community based workshops, these facilities would offer free space within which to hold workshops. As well, many of these facilities assist with advertising in their recreation guides, or by putting up posters and ensuring brochures are available to patrons.
Challenges, including non-COVID specific ones: A few challenges that have experienced are advertising and spreading the word about the programs. As well, reaching smaller communities in the Interior and Northern Regions of BC even now that programs are virtual.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
I just wanted to take a minute to express my thanks to UVIC for offering CHRONIC PAIN SELF-MANAGEMENT VIRTUAL PROGRAM. Secondly, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to both LINDA and ELAINE for being our volunteer leaders. They both did a superb job of leading us through the six week program. They obviously put considerable time and energy into our sessions, they showed empathy and compassion and they provided excellent feedback and direction. I believe this was their first time leading this course on line as a Zoom product. This required them to make many changes and directions including becoming familiar with the way Zoom operates in this setting.
I found the course provided many resources, not the least being the MEP program. Linda and Elaine challenged us and always had positive suggestions for our consideration and study. The “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Pain” resource book is truly a valuable resource package that I can see myself delving into for future study and reference. I have thoroughly enjoyed the “In the Loop” bi-monthly Newsletter. I hope you will leave me on the mailing list to continue to receive this valuable, professional resource.
I would not hesitate to recommend the course to others as a valuable tool to engage one experiencing Chronic Pain and wanting to learn new techniques to add to our tool box in aid of better and manageable personal health. Your course kick started me into putting some meaningful discipline into my life by setting up meaningful action goals and plans that I sincerely hope I can continue with down the road as I get closer to becoming an octogenarian in a few short months.
Thanks again. BRAVO TO ALL OF YOU."
"Dear Dr. McGowan,
I am writing to you to express my thanks to you and UVic for offering this splendid course. I am a senior living in the Shuswap with several chronic issues who recently took and finished it. I found nearly all of the topics covered were relevant to me. Christine, our Program Coordinator, did a very fine job of leading us.
The workshop was very well organized to address our concerns and to challenge us somewhat-what we needed! I found it not to be burdensome at all."
"I came upon the Toolkit for Active Living with Chronic Conditions through a contracted position I had. The information covered in the program manual and CDs is amazing. Every area of wellness is considered. I have been successful working with personalized goals as I approach the program one step at a time. The materials and staff are a great support. What a gift! Thank you. Barb, Fruitvale, B.C."
Adaptations due to COVID-19: The organization pivoted very quickly and smoothly from in-person community-based programs to virtual, mail-out and over the telephone programs. The platform moved online and participants are still making those important connections with other participants over Zoom. During COVID, human interaction, whether physical or virtual, is imperative to our mental health. Their programs are an invaluable source of information and connection for people who are living with one or more chronic health condition