VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) has recently launched a website providing resources and information to support Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSM). We spoke to Sara Fung, VHA Professional Practice Specialist, to learn more about the site:
Why did VHA create a Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSM) website?
We wanted to provide consistent, accurate information to clients and families that was easy to access so clients and their caregivers are able to find the relevant information they need.
Why is this site necessary and important?
We know that access to helpful information is one strategy to help prevent and manage chronic diseases, especially with many Canadians getting older. We know that clients often feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they receive, or that they do not receive the right information at the right time for them. We wanted to create a place that is simple and easy-to-read and understand to make sure clients and families can find the information they need.
How did you decide what to include on the site?
A diverse group including nursing and rehab service providers with clinical experience as well as personal support workers and clients with lived experience with chronic diseases helped to put this together. We also did a lot of research. We made sure all of the resources included on the site are up-to-date and are specific to Ontario to include all of the geographical regions where VHA provides service.
What will people find on the site?
The site includes information about common chronic diseases, how to find a health care provider, resources to help improve quality of life, information about how to manage multiple chronic diseases, tips for caregivers, community resources and more.
How is this site different than what is available elsewhere?
We have tried to put a lot of information together in one place and to provide information in ways that are easy to understand. We also try to answer basic questions like ‘What should I do?’ and ‘Why do I need to do this?’ The website includes ways to improve quality of life physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually, with practical information for busy caregivers. There is also a resource of people sharing their experiences on film to help people understand a variety of health conditions.
How are you hoping this will help clients and families?
Research has shown that clients don’t always have the information they need and they will not always ask for more information if they do not understand something. This website provides information in a way that is easy to understand so anyone can come back again and again when it is convenient. We hope the quality of life and support group resources will be helpful for clients and families trying to manage their chronic health conditions.