To mark Self-Management Week (3-7 October 2016), we want to provide you an overview of some of the great self-management work that goes on at Penny Brohn UK.

Self-management education at Penny Brohn UK

downloadSelf-management education focuses on helping people with long-term conditions to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their own health and care. At Penny Brohn UK, we offer self-management education designed around our unique Bristol Whole Life Approach, which addresses each part of a person; mind, body, spirit and emotions. We recognise that these parts are interconnected and work together to support the immune system and the body’s natural ability to heal. If people keep themselves well in each of these areas, they are able to take back some control over their health and wellbeing, build their resilience and live well with the impact of cancer.

Since 2010, we have offered Living Well courses to people affected by cancer in the UK. The Living Well course is Penny Brohn UK’s foremost vehicle for delivering self-management education across the UK and we have delivered over 500 of these courses to date.

A recent evaluation of our Living Well course and follow-up support found that:

A) Self-management was supported and enabled. A significant change in Patient Activation Measure (PAM) scores was found, with clients at the lowest levels of “activation” before the course showing the greater levels of improvement. Also, 86% of clients reported that the course had enabled them to self-manage their health more effectively.

B) Health related quality of life was significantly improved and changes were further maintained by experience of Follow-Up support.

C) 12 months after attending the Living Well course, 45% of people reported that the Living Well course had made a difference to the way they accessed medical services.

PrintRealising the Value

We were delighted when we were chosen, at the end of 2015, as the partner site for self-management education on the Realising the Value programme. We were chosen because of our exemplary work to date through the National Living Well Programme as an effective person centred intervention.

Realising the Value is a programme funded by NHS England to support the implementation of the NHS Five Year Forward View. The programme will produce its final output in November 2016, and, seeks to enable the health and care system to support people to have the knowledge, skills and confidence to play an active role in managing their own health and care and to work with communities and their assets.

Realising the Value appointed five local partner sites to help increase the impact of person-centred, community-based approaches to health and wellbeing:

  • Self-management education: Penny Brohn UK
  • Peer support: Positively UK
  • Health coaching: Big Life Centres
  • Community asset-based approaches in a health and wellbeing context: Unlimited Potential
  • Group activities to promote health and wellbeing: South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust: Creative Minds

Over the past few months we have worked with the Realising the Value team to help strengthen the evidence for person-and community-centred approaches to health and wellbeing and co-develop tools to increase their impact. This has included contributing data to an economic model, co-producing and testing tools as they are being developed, leading a self-management community of interest, and influencing policy recommendations for health and social care.

In September 2016, two new guides supporting the spread of self-management approaches have been produced by Realising the Value. These guides focus on spreading person-centred approaches – and have Penny Brohn UK’s work embedded within them as examples of best practice in this area. Watch this space for more information on all the Realising the Value final outputs due in November 2016.

If you would like to speak to us about our evaluation work, our work in the area of self-management education, or our involvement in the Realising the Value programme, please contact our Research & Evaluation Lead, Dr Helen Seers (

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