Lay-led self-management education programmes can be effective

Clinical question: 
How effective are lay-led self-management education programmes for people with chronic health problems?
Bottom line: 
Lay-led self-management programmes may lead to small, short-term improvements in participants’ self-efficacy, self-rated health, cognitive symptom management, and frequency of aerobic exercise. No adverse events, such as complaints, were reported in any of the studies. Chronic conditions included arthritis, diabetes, hypertension and chronic pain.
The programmes did not alter quality of life, number of visits to doctors, or reduce the amount of time spent in hospital. While many of the programmes were similar, they differed in which conditions were studied, which outcomes were measured and effectiveness of the programmes. Follow-up was limited to 6 months or less in most of the studies.
Self-management education programmes led by lay-leaders (rather than health professionals such as doctors or nurses) are becoming a common way to promote self-care for people with chronic conditions.
Review CD#: 
April, 2008
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy