The Person's Experience of Chronic Condition Self-Management

A collection of case studies of Chronic Condition Self-Management written by health professionals from the person’s perspective has just been released entitled The Person’s Experience of Chronic Condition Self-Management: A Collection of Case Studies.

This collection of case studies was prepared by Dr Sharon Lawn from the Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit (FHBHRU) in collaboration with students undertaking the postgraduate program in Chronic Condition Management and Self-Management

ORDER: THE PERSON'S EXPERIENCE OF CCSM Persons Experience Order Form 090505.pdf (PDF 69KB)


Professor Malcolm Battersby, Director Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit.

I commend a reading of these case studies of people with chronic conditions who have generously provided insights into the complexities, challenges and solutions to these challenges that they have experienced over the course of their lives. These case studies provide lessons at many levels for students, health professionals, educators, people with chronic conditions, their carers, managers and health administrators. These case studies are written by experienced health professionals and community workers who as students of the self-management course, took the time to record the life stories of people from a variety of backgrounds including Aboriginal, the elderly, mentally ill, adolescents, carers, and people from rural, remote and urban environments

Helen Hopkins, Executive Director, Consumers Health Forum of Australiacomments on the Case Studies

In writing these stories, the health professionals have shown how important it is to listen to the consumer and observe their situation. They heard the consumer’s stories, experiences, frustrations and challenges – and their successes – and saw the daily struggle to cope, not just with the chronic conditions, but the often difficult financial, social, family and environmental situation...Knowing this, the health professionals were in a better position to support the consumers to self-manage their chronic conditions; to work with the consumer and other health and community workers to find strategies that work for their personal situation.:

Below are excerpts from two of the seventeen case studies appearing in the book:

Karl, a 79 year of man with Ostoearthritis - ‘If it’s still running, don’t look under the bonnet!’
Karl describes having heard the Fuhrer addressing a Hitler Youth rally, exhorting all sons of the Reich to be “tough as leather, hard as Krupps steel, and fast as whippets”. This slogan was then adopted by his teachers. A tall order for small boys! Karl told me that for survival, any self-doubt about whether or not he himself belonged to the master race gene pool and any reluctance to engage in tough “masculine” drills at school, had to be hidden from the gaze of authority figures outside his family. Two evacuations from Berlin as a young boy, to live for months in country barracks with hundreds of schoolboys, taught this sensitive lad to keep any “weaknesses” like homesickness or illness totally private. Semi-starvation in Berlin during the Occupation years also strengthened stoicism.

Joan, a 64 year old woman with multiple health problems who also provides care to her adult children who have complex health problems and disabilities -  Life wasn’t meant to be easy!
Over the years she has developed a collaborative relationship with the individual practitioners, working from the premise that, “you have to ask, otherwise they won’t tell you”. “I make sure I tell them what I am doing and the final decision is mine”...As a society we applaud Joan for taking personal responsibility for her life. One must look at the historical context of her life to start to understand how she has managed to be so successful. There is no doubt that Joan, her husband, friends and children would have been dealing with social justice issues at every level and every stage of their life. This requires a clear understanding of an expected quality of life and a belief that there is a way around all obstacles put in the way.