Patient skills programme

The Patient Skills Programme gives people the skills and confidence to manage their own condition in partnership with their health team.

Designed to be lively and interactive, the Patient Skills Programme is normally run over six weeks, with one workshop a week.  The workshops focus on enabling participants to share their experiences and learn and practice new skills.

What makes the programme powerful is that it is co-delivered by a health professional and a person with experience of living with a long term condition working in partnership. This collaboration between the professional and lay tutors models a collaborative relationship between patients and their health professionals in everyday life.

The design and content of the Patient Skills Programme builds on extensively tested and evaluated self-management programmes used nationally and internationally by organisations such as Stanford University in the USA and the Expert Patient Programme in the UK.

Its content reflects the three key elements of self-management identified by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement:

  • Care of the body and management of the condition: the programme increases people’s knowledge about their condition and how to manage it – this might include, for example, knowing what to eat, when to rest, when or whether to exercise, and if or how to take medicines.
  • Dealing with emotions arising from having the condition: the programme enables people to recognise that living with the condition has an impact on their emotions, and consider how to manage and reduce that impact.
  • Adapting everyday activities and roles to the condition: through the programme, participants consider how they might adapt the things they do in their daily lives to fit with living with the condition.

Its design differs from traditional patient education programmes in that:

  • the theory underlying the programme is that it is not knowledge alone, but knowledge in combination with greater self-efficacy and increased confidence in the individual that leads to improved clinical outcomes;
  • where traditional patient education is disease specific and provides information and technical skills related to the condition, the Patient Skills Programme also includes problem solving skills to cope, manage and live with the impacts of living with a long term condition;
  •  where the programme leader is traditionally a health professional, the Patient Skills Programme is co-facilitated by a health professional and a person living with the long term condition, setting the framework for a different relationship between health professionals and people with long term conditions.

See the materials from the Patient Skills Programme

View and download resources that support patients to plan for their appointments, set health goals and develop action plans.

Patient Pat Barber talks about how a self-management course has helped her
Hear more Patients, GPs, Commissioners and Nurses talk about Person-centred care on our web app.