LFA self-management care program for lupus gets free mobile app

Nonprofit's new app will ease use of SELF program for patients

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) has launched a free mobile application, or app, for its virtual Strategies to Embrace Living with Lupus Fearlessly self-care program — dubbed SELF — for adults in the U.S. with the chronic autoimmune disorder.

The SELF program, available online, offers tips and tools to help those with lupus better manage their disorder.

It’s designed to enable lupus patients to live the fullest lives possible, with strategies for ways to better manage disease symptoms, stick with treatments, handle stress, and communicate with their healthcare team.

While the program may still be used online as originally introduced, the free mobile app was created as an option to make SELF more accessible and available for patients while on the go or during doctor visits. Both the SELF app and website version offer the same features, including medication and symptom trackers, skill-building activities, and a journal.

App users also may sign up for texted or emailed tips and encouragement, and use the application to connect with peers, find educational materials, and get help through a support group or LFA health education specialist.

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Free mobile app developed with support from CDC

The self-management program is aimed at patients at any disease stage. That includes individuals who seek more control of their condition and those who, while feeling they manage lupus well, may want help coping with some of the journey’s ups and downs.

Developed with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commonly known as the CDC, and AstraZeneca, the app offers enhanced features:

  • The symptom tracker and journal are now linked for a fuller picture of the lupus experience.
  • The medication tracker uses an auto-complete function to help with the spelling of medicines and to suggest common dosages.
  • A planning tool can help patients decide when and how they will take their medication.
  • The updates allow easier access to previous journal entries.

SELF was developed by the LFA with input from people living with lupus and their physicians, behavior change specialists, rheumatologists, and other experts. It’s touted as the first lupus self-management program to tailor a user’s experience based on individual interests and needs.

The program creates a customized plan of daily skill-building activities around the patient’s area of focus, be it management of stress, medication, or symptoms, or working with care team members. Every two weeks, the patient has the option of choosing a new area of focus.

“I’ve been using SELF for quite some time, and really enjoy so many facets of the program including the daily texts to my phone,” Jill Nelson, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2020, said in an LFA press release.

“I feel empowered knowing the Lupus Foundation of America is there for me, readily available to lend support and resources, and I’m excited to see how the SELF app expands this positive experience,” Nelson said.

For more information about the app or SELF program, send an email to [email protected]. AstraZeneca is the developer of Saphnelo, an approved therapy for moderate to severe systemic lupus erythematosus, the most common form of lupus.