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The Expert Patients Programme is a peer-led self care support programme for people living with any long term condition, their carer and families. Originally based on a six week course developed by Dr. Kate Lorig at Stanford University. It has been expanded to encompass a whole range of programmes.

Some of the courses are delivered by lay people, some are delivered by a mix of health specialists and lay people. The courses are attended by between 8 and 12 people and last between 6 and 8 weeks depending on the needs of the groups. Research has shown that people who attend courses have improved self confidence and are more able to deal with impact of long term illness on their lives.

Does it Work? - Taken from British Medical Association Website - http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/selfmanagementpolicy?OpenDocument&Highlight=2,expert,patients,programme

There have been various short term evaluations of the EPP in particular. The DH’s evaluation of approximately 1,000 participants in the EPP indicated that the programme provides significant numbers of people with the confidence and skills to better manage their long term condition on a daily basis, and in reducing their use of services.[9]

A more significant study, the National Evaluation of self care programmes, was undertaken by the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre on behalf of the DH.[11],[12] An interim report produced in January 2004 was inconclusive in its findings as to the effectiveness of the EPP but highlighted an increase in self-efficacy: a patient’s confidence in managing their condition.[11] The final report published in December 2006 could still not prove absolutely the effectiveness of the EPP, but it made clear that people benefited from self management education, not only by improving their knowledge but in sharing their experiences and learning with other people in similar circumstances.

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