My Self-Management journey

“My Long Term Health Condition (LTHC) has been with me for many years. Fibromyalgia was eventually diagnosed. It was a difficult diagnosis because of my osteoarthritis. The pain was coming from one direction and other aches and pains from another. I went on several courses and tried alternative therapies. Nothing seemed to really work for me until I went on the Expert Patient Programme. It was life changing. I gained more confidence, empowerment and learned to self-manage more effectively as well as coming to terms with my condition.

With the encouragement of the SM Programme Lead I felt I could in some small way assist and promote the present programme of LBFB. Since the launch of LBFB I have assisted as a volunteer in the tutoring of the lesson plans helping others with LTHC. They not only to come to terms with their illness but feel better able to manage their condition more effectively, gaining a better quality of life.

To conclude.

Participants generally come in with scepticism and glum faces. Their body language also shows their doubts and worries and then by week 2/3 the change in their attitude is quite remarkable and so gratifying. Their positivity and increased self-management is amazing and remains throughout the rest of the course.

Two of the key elements in LBFB is the non-judgmental, friendly and safe environment which participants sense straightaway”.

Background to project

The Live Better to Feel Better (LBFB) is a person-centred, non-disease-specific, group education programme which has been running in Gloucestershire since 2018.

The aim of the programme is to empower people with Long Term Conditions to:

  • use health information effectively
  • identify issues that most affect their wellbeing
  • understand their own role in their health.
  • learn tools and techniques to support them self-manage

The intended outcomes are to give people:

  • Increased self-management capability
  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced dependence on services, or inappropriate service use.


The model used by LBFB engages service users through the delivery itself. Courses are delivered by lay tutors – ‘experts by experience’.

The service model was developed in conjunction with this lay workforce.

There is lay representation on the project groups.

Learning and Outcomes

Feedback from the programme has shown participants really value the peer support this model of delivery offers

We now have a very engaged and enthusiastic lay workforce, who give a lot of ongoing support to the programme

Qualitative feedback shows participants really value the supportive style of tutoring delivered by the lay workforce

Next steps

The 2 year pilot is due to end in April 2020. Funding for continuation of the service has been applied for and is currently being reviewed.