Opinions

Self management in challenging times with the Wellbeing Fund

Written by: Joanne McCoy, LGOWIT Manager, Let's Get on With It Together

Published: 21/10/2020

Read about how Let's Get On With It Together have used the Wellbeing Fund grant to promote the principles of Self Management.

LGOWIT exists to raise awareness of the many challenges of living with longterm conditions. It helps people self-manage their conditions through sharing knowledge, training and fun activities to enable them to make the most of their lives.

Before Covid-19 LGOWIT ran a full schedule of five-week self-management training courses, living better peer support groups, activity sessions and induction workshops on our self management toolkit across Highland.  All of these interactions took place predominantly in person face to face. We also attended meetings and events to promote LGOWIT and spread the message of Self Management.

On 16 March we took the decision to cancel all groups, training courses etc for the foreseeable future – at this point the team also moved to home working.

The Wellbeing Fund allowed us to continue and develop the services we have been able to offer people. At the outset our community networkers began contacting all group members weekly by phone, text and email, supporting them where we could to deal with issues around shopping, money, anxiety , isolation and suicidal thoughts.  During our contact with group members we reminded them of what we had covered during the self management courses and encouraged them to use their toolkits.

Many of our members found it all very challenging, keeping up with the ever-changing rules, not seeing family, friends, colleagues and just coping with day to day life in lockdown.  It also impacted on staff members as they were supporting people through really difficult times while facing lots of new situations in their own lives.  It was difficult adapting to doing things totally differently and not being able to support people face to face.

We were able to embrace the online world and commence sessions for our members across Highland – Tai Chi, which has had great impact on sleep and pain, mindfulness to help cope with those difficult days, Pilates to keep muscles moving, sound baths to help us relax, wellbeing coaching to talk about those worries now being faced, craft boxes to engage with those not online and newsletters which have been so beneficial to everyone.  Group members have loved trying new things and appreciated so much everything we have provided.

The Fund allowed us to develop a new 10 session modular booklet ‘Self Management in Challenging Times’ in 4 weeks. It covers:-

  • Embracing Change
  • Uncovering Self Management
  • Setting Goals and Action Planning
  • Staying Positive
  • Managing Symptoms 1
  • Managing Symptoms 2
  • Living Well
  • Communicating Effectively
  • Coping with Loss
  • Maintaining Independence

The Fund also enabled us to create an eLearning course of the same content.

We have had an outstanding response from our members, health professionals, and Third Sector organisations, distributing 4500 copies of the booklet in 4weeks, with 345 people accessing the eLearning course.  Both are now valued resources which will enable many more to access and benefit from new coping mechanisms.

The past few months have created so many new and exciting opportunities.  People have tried activities they never would have before and confidence to communicate online has also grown significantly. We have got to know our group members much better and they have met new friends in other areas through online activities. Our new closed Facebook group has been great to allow these new friendships to grow and Group members have expressed how much all the support, activities, etc has meant to them.  Many have stated that it has kept them going. It has not all been bad as a team – we have got to know each other much better with our weekly team meetings and engage on TEAMS as if we are in the office.

We are a nation on a journey to a progressive normal.  No one knows when life will return to the way it was before Covid-19.  We are concerned that many Third Sector organisations will not survive the journey due to changes in the funding landscape at a time when need is increasing so rapidly.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it has reaffirmed to us that the principles of Self Management are applicable to all and the message needs to reach everyone in Scotland.

Our member

Our Member

Let’s Get on With It Together

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