As a celebration for its 37th anniversary of independence, St. Lucia Arthritis and Lupus Association (SLALA) reflects on the journey so many people face by dealing with chronic diseases under the theme “The Journey Continues.”
According to a press release, SLALA has created an opportunity for St. Lucians to find a way to make their journeys with chronic disease more bearable and improve their quality of life, by introducing Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). Aware that the journey for those with chronic disease sometimes involves denial, non-compliance with medications and doctors’ orders, complications, financial struggles, depression, anxiety, and even hopelessness, SLALA is dedicated to help empower patients to take charge of their health choices with this program.
After two prior attempts to maintain the CDSMP in St. Lucia, SLALA decided to re-train their leaders and master trainers in the program in 2014. The group has successfully hosted 18 workshops throughout the island and one leadership training workshop in Soufriere in June 2015. Self-management programs are now a significant part of the guidelines for the management of many chronic diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, and lupus.
SLALA knows the ultimate decision is always in the hands of the patients, no matter how many resources are available or how intensively physicians and health professionals advocate. If a patient has a positive, empowered, and informed attitude, they will take better care for themselves, report better disease outcomes, and have a better overall quality of life.
Through the Viv Byen Leaders’ Training Seminar in Soufriere, participants were able to not only raise awareness for their condition, but also see the positive choices available which can help them live healthier lives. Participants were taught techniques to sleep better, cook, read food labels, make tough decisions, communicate better with everyone – from their healthcare providers to their families – think positively, solve problems, and also achieve small, significant goals through action-planning. The workshops are designed to provide participants with all the relevant techniques and information so they can learn and practice new skills.
SLALA plans to continue its journey with 10 more workshops in 2016. Anyone who wishes to enroll in one of the association’s workshops can check out SLALA’s contact page here.