Free Workshops Help People Cope with Chronic Health Conditions

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital will offer another series of free Healthier Living Workshops for people coping with chronic health conditions.

Stanford University developed the six-week program to empower individuals with chronic diseases and their caregivers to better manage the condition through education, support and skill-building exercises. Classes meet each Tuesday from January 10, 2012 through February 14, 2012 from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. in Brew Barry Conference Room 1 at BMH.

Two trained leaders will facilitate the workshop. They will cover fun and practical techniques for dealing with frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation, breathing techniques and guided imagery to reduce stress, exercises for improving and maintaining strength, flexibility and endurance, appropriate use of medications, nutrition, and more.

Advance registration is available now by contacting Wendy Cornwell or Jessie Casella at 251-8459, or by emailing wcornwell@bmhvt.org. At least 10 participants are needed to run the program.

Healthier Living Workshops are the product of a 5-year research project conducted at Stanford University involving over 1,000 participants living with chronic conditions. The program is widely implemented both nationally and internationally. Participants who have completed the program consistently report lower utilization of health services and improved quality of life.

Fifty-one percent of Vermonters over 18 years of age are living with a chronic condition and 88 percent of people over 65 have at least two conditions. Chronic conditions are the primary reason people receive health care. Unlike injury or acute health care problems, chronic conditions must be managed at home, outside of the doctor’s office or hospital. Individuals with chronic conditions must become their own primary health care managers.

The Healthier Living Workshops are part of the Blueprint for Health Initiative. Funding for the workshop is provided by the State of Vermont, Department of Vermont Health Access.