County offering new course on chronic health issues

People suffering from chronic conditions could benefit from a six-week class starting Wednes?day, Sept. 23.

?Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions,? is sponsored by the Marion County Department for Elderly, in partnership with Central Homecare and Hillsboro Community Hospital.

The program is nationally known as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and was developed at Stanford University in the mid 1990s, according to Cindy Winters with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

?This course will teach people how to self-manage their disease,? Winters said. ?Individuals with any of the chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other kinds of pain can learn to cope.?

Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator of the Marion County Department for Elderly, and Donna Becker with Central Homecare in Newton, are trained leaders who will facilitate the classes, Winters said.

Of the 105 counties in Kansas, Marion is only one of the 24 counties offering the program.

?Participants will be introduced to a variety of techniques they can use to help manage their chronic condition,? Winters said. ?People will be able to learn from others, share experiences, practice the techniques they are introduced to, develop problem solving skills and develop weekly action plans.

Participant classes, like the one planned in Marion County, was first introduced in late 2008.

?The number of people taking the classes keeps growing as leaders are trained and they then take the program back to their communities,? she said.

Ratzlaff said the class is open to family, friends or caregivers of people with chronic conditions.

?It is a confidential program so that participants can build trust when sharing,? she added.

Registration is required and class size is limited to 15 participants.

Deadline for registration is Friday, Sept. 18. For more information or to register, call 620-382-3580.

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