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Living well with a chronic health condition

It’s time to make the call and get registered so you can learn to live well again. There are only 4 spots left.  The Prince Edward Family Health Team (PEFHT) and The Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association (Community Care) are offering another Self-Management Workshop for people of any age and their families living with, or affected by, any type of chronic condition such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Participant feedback, from earlier sessions, was very positive so the organizers have planned another series for Wellington.

The workshop consists of a series of six 2-hour small-group workshops where participants with different types of chronic conditions learn together.  Participants learn about techniques to deal with frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation.  They also learn about their medications, proper exercise and nutrition.  Dawn Calnan-Kerr, a Registered Nurse with the PEFHT and Gisela Tomlinson, a volunteer with Community Care, lead group discussions and offer tips on how to more effectively communicate with health care providers, how to problem-solve and make health care decisions.

These leaders received extensive training to become qualified to lead this course, which was developed by Stanford University in California. The leaders help participants to develop a personal health action plan. Emphasis is placed on how participants can improve their ability to manage their chronic conditions between visits to your health care provider. During the workshop, time is spent sharing experiences and gaining support from other participants living with chronic conditions.

Gisela Tomlinson knows what she’s talking about when she leads workshops about living with a chronic health condition.  She was diagnosed in 1995 with rheumatoid arthritis and had to make career and lifestyle changes in order to manage this chronic condition.

A life-long volunteer, Gisela says “I can’t begin to explain how helpful this program is for anyone with pain, or living with a person in chronic pain. I’m so glad that this program is now offered here in our local community.”

Dawn Calnan-Kerr says that “the participants have so much to offer.  The experiences that they share are so valuable.  I hear over and over how validating it is to see that no matter what the chronic condition, so many people struggle with the same concerns. The workshop is a great place for participants to offer support to one another and to discuss how they use the information and tools from the workshop between sessions. It is really great to see participants become more motivated and more confident that they can manage their chronic conditions between medical visits.”

By attending all the sessions of the workshop, participants can gain the knowledge and skills necessary to help reduce the frequency of visits to their health care provider, and possibly to reduce the need for emergency room visits and hospitalizations, ultimately improving quality of life.

The course will be offered every Thursday for 6 weeks from 1pm to 3pm starting September 2nd, at Sandbanks Medical Centre, 12 Prince Edward Drive, Wellington.  The fee of $35.00 includes a 400-page reference book.  A spouse or family member may also attend for $15/person. Register by calling Community Care at 613-476-7493.  Space is limited to
14 people so don’t delay.

Community Care and the PEFHT are County-based organizations working together to improve the health of people.  For further information about either organization see their websites at or

Filed Under: Uncategorized


About the Author: Debbie Moynes is Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Executive Director. Community Care is a not-for-profit agency helping Prince Edward County seniors live at home. Programs include help with income tax and other forms, walking program, monthly dinners, transportation to medical appointments, security checks, home maintenance, foot-care clinics and Meals on Wheels. These services are provided with the assistance of more than 450 volunteers.

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