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Self-Management Program for Veterans with Hepatitis C Virus Improves Health

July 1, 2010

This study looked at the effects of being involved in a self-management program on the quality of life of Veterans with Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Self-management programs are more complete or thorough than traditional patient education, and they focus on teaching problem-solving skills and helping patients manage their illness. In this study, 132 VA patients with HCV infection were randomly assigned to either a 6-week self-management workshop or an information-only program between 5/07 and 11/08. Researchers then looked at what, if any, changes occurred in health-related quality of life, knowledge of HCV, the ability to manage one's health condition, depression, energy, and health distress at the beginning of the study and, again, six weeks later.

Findings show that when compared to the information-only group, Veterans who attended the self-management workshop knew more about their disease and were better able to manage their condition, and they had more energy and vitality. Increased energy and vitality is important because fatigue is the most commonly reported symptom of chronic HCV infection. The study researchers suggest that this intervention can improve the health of Veterans with HCV infection, independent of medication therapy.

Groessl E, Weingart K, Stepnowsky C, Gifford A, Asch S, and Ho S. The Hepatitis C Self-Management Program: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Viral Hepatitis May 31, 2010;e-pub ahead of print.

This study was funded by HSR&D (IAC 05-067). Drs. Groessl, Weingart, and Stepnowsky are part of the VA San Diego Healthcare System. Drs. Gifford and Asch are part of VA/HSR&D's HIV/Hepatitis Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI).

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