Treating Chronic Illness
"Self-management is seen as an integral, even central, part of the system of care provided to people with chronic diseases. Patient self-management … programmes are not simply about educating patients about their condition or giving them relevant information – they are based on developing patients' confidence and motivation to use their own skills, information and professional services to take effective control over life with a chronic condition."
Jackson Street Community
The Jackson Street Community for Supported Self-Management is aresident fellowship program designed to prepare and empower people transitioning from supportive housing towards recovery oriented goals.
About Conard House
For more than 50 years, Conard House has provided effective, community-based resources for San Francisco's vulnerable adults living with serious mental illness. Every day, clients working with our skilled team find healthy pathways to recovery, and those resources — including a combination of counseling, treatment, programs and other services — in order to self-manage chronic medical and mental illnesses.
Each year, Conard House serves more than 1,600 adults by:
- Creating welcoming, caring and empowering communities
- Fostering personal insight into illness and recovery
- Promoting long-term independent living; providing access to secure, well-maintained housing
- Helping our clients understand and negotiate the public mental health and health systems of care
- Restoring hope
Conard House owes its history of successful innovation to the pioneering work of Elaine Mikels (1921-2004). This visionary social worker saw the need for transitional housing alternatives when adults no longer needed institutionalization, but had no place to go. She came to understand that appropriate housing, though essential, was not enough to bring about long-term stability and reintegration into the community.
Founder Elaine Mikels, her mentor Conard Rheiner and other charter members of the Conard House board were pioneers in the "deinstitutionalization movement," proponents of the "consumer movement," as well as innovators among "psycho-social rehabilitation" (PSR) service providers.
What began in 1960 as a "therapeutic halfway hostel," Conard House today is a spectrum of programs and services designed to support, rather than direct, our client's plans for recovery. We continue to be guided by founding principles of PSR — least restrictive, community-based, independent living; individual capacities, abilities and strengths define resources; a focus on the whole person, environment and functional behavior; and, the essential partnership between client and treatment provider.
In addition to incorporating well-known services models — Residential Treatment, Supportive Housing, Supportive Employment, Money Management and Harm Reduction — we continue to innovate. The integration of principles of PSR and best practices in self-management of chronic medical conditions creates an approach we are calling Community-Supported Self-Management (CSSM).
A Proven Treatment
"Whether one is engaging in a health promoting activity such as exercise or is living with a chronic disease such as asthma, he or she is responsible for day to day management … One cannot not manage. If one decides not to engage in a healthful behavior or not to be active in managing a disease, this decision reflects a management style. Unless one is totally ignorant of healthful behaviors it is impossible not to manage one's health. The question is how one manages. The issue of self-management is especially important for those with chronic disease, where only the patient can be responsible for his or her day to day care over the length of the illness. For most of these people, self-management is a lifetime task."
Kate Lorig, DrPH and Halsted Holman, MD
Stanford University School of Medicine, 2000
A Client's Perspective
"If the community was more aware of what they're [people living with mental illness] going through, I think it would be better for us all and people would be more apt to help people with mental illness instead of laugh at them or ostracize them or distance themselves from them. It would be better for all [to] be inclusive for the mentally ill, instead of exclusive. I think we got a long way to go, but we've come a long way. …until everybody's included, we haven't gone far enough. If one person is left out, then we haven't gone far enough in helping the disabled like myself."