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Conference of Living Well – Partnership in a Self-management Movement 2017
Chronic Disease Self-management Programme for a Better Life

Chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis have affected the body functions and hindered the daily lives of elderly people, causing adverse effects on their mental health and weakening their passion for life. According to statistics*, over 60% of people with chronic diseases in Hong Kong are aged 60 or above. An ardent demand for medical and social services is anticipated in the coming two decades. In this connection, The Salvation Army Hong Kong and Macau Command (The Salvation Army) has initiated a community project named the ‘Chronic Disease Self-management Programme (CDSMP)’ to transfer the evidence-based knowledge and skills, for which the effectiveness has been proven by the Stanford University. Elderly with chronic diseases are not only capable of facing and managing their own health condition positively and proactively, but also utilise medical resources effectively in addition to enhance their own self-efficacy and quality of life.

Today (30 Nov 2017), The Salvation Army organised the ‘Conference of Living Well – Partnership in a Self-management Movement 2017’. Representatives from the Government and medical sector discussed the global trends, community engagement and effectiveness of Self-management Movement. A participant was invited to share her views on improving the symptoms of chronic diseases and reigniting the passion for life by practising the skills which she learnt from the programme.

Dr Chui Tak-yi, JP, Under Secretary for Food and Health, Government of the HKSAR, one of the officiating guests, agreed with the importance of patients’ self-management skills. Dr Chui said, ‘Facing the challenges of aging population, the Government not only improves and promotes primary health care service, it also emphasises the self-management of our patients for an efficient utilisation of medical resources. Medical and social partnership is definitely crucial in the promotion of primary health care.’ Ms Irene Leung, Social Services Director of The Salvation Army Hong Kong and Macau Command, was another officiating guest. She shared the achievement of promoting the ‘Self-management Course’. ‘Throughout years of studies and practices, we affirm the capability of our elderly in the promotion of skills and knowledge of self-management. In view of the aging population, they are not only the beneficiaries of primary health care, but also with utmost importance as social capital in the development,’ said Ms Leung.

The keynote speakers included:
Professor Kate Lorig, Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicine of Stanford University
Professor Eliza Wong Lai-yi, The Jockey Club School of Public and Primary Care, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dr Chan Tan-mui, Consultant Physician, Head, Unit for NCD Prevention and Health Promotion, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of Health Bureau Macao SAR
Ms Wong Pui-hing, Assistant Service Supervisor of The Salvation Army Social Services Department
Ms Wong Siu-mui, Sabina, Elder Lay Leader of The Salvation Army CDSMP Hub

During the conference, they gave speeches about the advantages of promoting the ‘Chronic Disease Self-management Programme’ movement in response to aging population, reviewed the trend of the global development about the programme and discussed the ways to enhance medical and social partnership which is effective for the development of primary health care.

Living Well with Chronic Disease and Reigniting the Passion for Life

Ms Wong Siu-mui, Sabina is one of the participating elders of the Programme. She has been suffering from cervical spine displacement which led to severe pain and was tired of striving for a living. After retirement, she suffered from hyperthyroidism, hypertension and Meniere’s disease making her homebound. After joining the Programme, she learnt a series of ‘self-management’ skills that can help distract her attention on pain and relieve the symptoms of chronic diseases. She was promoted to the elder lay leader in her group afterwards and has visited numerous social services agencies to share her story and experiences of self-management with others who are also suffered from chronic diseases and created positive impact on others’ lives.

‘My son and husband could not help me either, I kept staying at home all day in sadness and tiredness, making me rely too much on medicine. The situation changed after I have joined the Programme. I learnt various skills such as the breathing technique which has been very effective once I started to do it. I feel much more comfortable than before,’ said Ms Wong. Apart from being the team leader of the elder group now, she is also a companion of the other ‘elderly buddies’, ‘I will let trainees express their worries about physical and mental health. We will then work out an action plan together step by step and guide them to put it into practice in daily lives,’ she said.

About Chronic Disease Self-management Programme

In response to the individual needs of those who live with chronic diseases and societal needs, The Salvation Army Hong Kong and Macau Command has implemented the Chronic Disease Self-management Programme since 2004. Participating elders learn the self-management methods and act positively and proactively in managing their health conditions. The Programme is not only run in groups, but also developed as an elder-led model. By the accumulated experiences and demonstration, they partner with government departments and medical and social sectors to build social capital for an exploration into the future development of an elder-led self-management movement. Achievements in the past 10 years include the following:

  • Over 30 participating elderly and rehabilitation service units provided self-management programme to over 10,000 elderly persons, family members, practitioners of medical and allied health and general public. Over 130 staff in the social welfare and health care sectors and elderly were trained to be lay leaders by the end of October 2017.
  • To serve as a reference work in developing self-management programme in the community, books titled ‘Free Journey’《自在行》 and ‘CDSMP Experiences Collection’《「活得自在」健康生活行動經驗文集》were published. An upcoming publication titled ‘My Dairy of Self-management of Chronic Disease’ 《活得自在-我的慢性病管理日記》is going to be released to share the stories of elders with chronic disease.
  • Success in reaching out to the general public, medical and health care sectors, educational institutions and community bodies through community education, community care and support services to put the knowledge and skills of self-management into practice.


*The statistics is based on the feature article ‘Persons with Disabilities and Chronic Diseases in Hong Kong’ published on the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics, Chart 4 on p.8, January, 2015.

Representatives from the Go...
Professor Kate Lorig, Profe...
Ms Irene Leung, Social Serv...
Ms Wong Siu-mui, Sabina, El...