CCSM – Evidence

A number of systematic reviews have identified evidence for the effectiveness of self-management interventions to improve of the management of chronic conditions. 

What works to support self-management?

  • a whole-systems approach to implementation which intervenes at the level of the patient, the health service and the organisation
  • provision of education about the chronic condition and how to self-manage, recognising the pre-existing knowledge and beliefs
  • involving people in decision-making
  • emphasising problem-solving
  • developing care plans as a partnership between service users and professionals
  • setting goals and following up on the extent to which these are achieved over time
  • promoting healthy lifestyles
  • motivating people to self-manage using targeted approaches and structured information and support
  • helping people to monitor their symptoms and know when to take appropriate action
  • helping people to manage the social, emotional and physical impacts of their conditions
  • proactive follow up
  • social support as appropriate
  • provision of opportunities to share and learn from other service users.

A wide range of initiatives exist that can support self-management. These can be categorised along a continuum of interventions:

  • focus on self-efficacy, for example self-monitoring, care plans, action plans
  • behaviour change, for example coaching, motivational interviewing,  group programs
  • focus on technical skills, for example online courses, self-monitoring devices
  • information provision, for example pamphlets, websites.

Evidence shows approaches that focus on behaviour change and supporting self-efficacy can be significantly more effective than others. Information provision alone is unlikely to be sufficient to motivate sustainable behaviour change and improve clinical outcomes.

There is a societal need to address public understanding of chronic conditions and their impact.  This lack of a public story for many conditions has been shown to impact on patients’ help-seeking behaviour, and on public perceptions of need.

Systematic reviews: evidence for effectiveness of self-management

Information sheet

Produced by

Chronic Condition Self-Management