Who Participates in Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSM) Programs?

Individuals with higher physical functioning and who rated their primary care providers as less supportive were more likely to participate in CDSM.

In an effort to improve health and reduce health care costs, community-based self-management programs may prove useful for older adults with multiple chronic conditions. This study examines the difference between participants and nonparticipants in a chronic disease self-management (CDSM) program for older adults.

Using information from CDSM participants and nonparticipants from a match-pair cluster-randomized controlled trial for the Guided Care Model, the study gathered information on 241 subjects aged 65 years or older, at high risk for health care utilization, and not homebound. Participants were invited to attend a six-session CDSM course. Information gathered included demographics, health status, health activities, and quality of care.

Key Findings:

  • Of the 241 participating patients, nearly 23 percent attended at least five CDSM sessions.
  • Individuals with higher physical function were twice as likely to attend CDSM classes as compared to those with lower physical function.
  • Age, sex, race, socio-economic status, and education were not statistically significantly associated with CDSM attendance in this study.
  • Patients were more likely to participate in CDSM if they rated their primary care providers as less supportive.

While this study is limited in sample size and generalizability, the study suggests that CDSM programs can meet the need for patient activation support.