Self-management refers to all the things people do to help themselves to live a better, more fulfilling life despite disability or long-term health conditions. Self-management is about having the right tools, skills and support to live well.
RTRU researchers are exploring how people with disabilities can live life to its fullest in spite of their disability. As an interdisciplinary group, including people living with disability, our research into self-management stretches across diverse health and cultural populations and issues. We welcome interest in collaborating or studying with us. Our research on self-management is grouped into three themes:
1. Doing well: What works for me
Doing Well research explores how people and their families have coped with disabling health conditions. Areas of research include coping strategies and how these have been used to shape more fulfilling lives in relation to intimate relationships for people with multiple sclerosis, supporting children with disability and their families, recovery from traumatic brain injury and stroke, maintaining employment and minimising secondary effects of disability such as pain and fatigue.
- Publications of Dr Fiona Graham
- Coping with multiple sclerosis as a couple: 'peaks and troughs' - an interpretative phenomenological exploration
- How family carers engage with technical health procedures in the home: a grounded theory study
- Associations between illness perceptions, coping styles and outcome after mild traumatic brain injury: preliminary results from a cohort study
- Reducing the Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury Related Fatigue on Paid Employment: A Client Perspective
- Occupational performance coaching for stroke survivors: a pilot randomized controlled trial protocol
2. Access & Adherence: Getting help when I need it
Sometimes learning to self-manage disability is easier with specialist help for a while to better understand the health condition, or learn particular skills and strategies. Specialist services draw on a range of interventions when deciding how best to people to learn self-management skills. And consumers of services go through a decision making process when deciding which types of services (or interventions) they want to try, or how much they will use the strategies they are taught. At the RTRU we are interested in understanding what types of services people can access in New Zealand and if access meets demand. We are also interested in how people with disability make decisions about the services they seek and value, particularly in relation to culturally-related needs of Maori. Our work in this area also overlaps with our Digital Technology Rehabilitation research hub.
- Musculoskeletal pain and treatment choice: an exploration of illness perceptions and choices of conventional or complementary therapies
- Uptake of pulmonary rehabilitation in New Zealand by people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2009
- Whakawhanaungatanga: the importance of culturally meaningful connections to improve uptake of pulmonary rehabilitation by Māori with COPD – a qualitative study
- Digital technology in rehabilitation
Adherence to an intervention refers to how much we use what we have learnt to self-manage our health or disability issue. It also refers to how well a health professional adheres to the guidelines in delivering an intervention. Adherence is an important part of gaining the benefits of any self-management strategy yet adherence is well known to be difficult to keep up for both health professionals and health consumers.
At the RTRU we are interested in improving knowledge of what helps people to adhere to self-management strategies and how well interventions are delivered by health professionals. RTRU researchers have worked with others to design measurement tools of adherence to interventions targeting pelvic floor training, gout medication, motivational interviewing and the delivery of Occupational Performance Coaching by health professionals.
- Publications of Associate Professor Jean Hay-Smith
- Motivational interviewing to enhance adolescent mental health treatment engagement: a randomized clinical trial
- Training in Occupational Performance Coaching (OPC)
- Occupational therapists' and physiotherapists' perceptions of implementing Occupational Performance Coaching
3. The Lived Experience: How I see it
Self-management research would be incomplete without the experience and insights of those who live with disability. RTRU researchers have partnered with consumers of rehabilitation, on their experiences and perspectives of living with disability, managing its challenges and engaging in interventions. We have learnt that rural workers with low back pain continue to work, despite the pain through actively problem solving and out of a love of the outdoors. People with multiple sclerosis, shared that the experience of work was dominated by their ability manage fatigue which informed clearer ways for health professionals to support their employment. Two years after head injury, adults described how pervasive sleep and fatigue issues were across all aspects of life. Mothers' of children with neuro-disabilities described persisting with very challenging situations following Occupational Performance Coaching because the goals being addressed were so important to them. Women prescribed pelvic floor training for stress incontinence and pelvic prolapse revealed the influence of family on their adherence to exercises.
- Rural workers' experience of low back pain: exploring why they continue to work
- Exploring the work experiences of people with multiple sclerosis
- Exploring the experience of sleep and fatigue in male and female adults over the 2 years following traumatic brain injury: a qualitative descriptive study
- Mothers' Experiences of Engaging in Occupational Performance Coaching
- Occupational Performance Coaching (OPC)
- Women's experiences of doing long-term pelvic floor muscle exercises for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse symptoms