Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario


  • Self-management involves addressing multiple behavioural risk factors, (i.e., physical activity, diet, smoking, and alcohol) through three basic tasks:

1. Monitoring and managing the signs and symptoms of disease;

2. Engaging in health and lifestyle behaviours and taking medications appropriately; and

3. Maintaining regular contact with health care provider

  • Self-management is defined as: “... The tasks that individuals must undertake to live well with one or more chronic conditions. These tasks include having the confidence to deal with medical management, role management, and emotional management of their conditions” (Adams, Greiner, & Corrigan, 2004, p.57).
  • Self-management support is defined as: “... the systematic provision of education and supportive interventions by health-care staff to increase patients’ skills and confidence in managing their health problems, including regular assessment of progress and problems, goal setting, and problem-solving support.” (Adams et al., 2004, pg 57).
  • The goal of self-management support is increased confidence in the ability to change, rather than compliance with a caregiver’s advice. The purpose of self-management support is to help clients become informed about their conditions and take an active role in treatment (Bodenheimer, MacGregor & Sharifi, 2005).
  • “Self-Management Support” is a major component of the Chronic Care Model (Wagner, Austin & Von Korff, 1996).  (See Figure A Chronic Care Model and Table 1 Characteristics of the Chronic Care Model). The Chronic Care Model, or adapted versions of the model, is being used to guide the planning and delivery of chronic health care in the majority of Canadian provinces.
  • Of the four essential components—self-management support, delivery system design, decision support and clinical information systems within the Chronic Care Model, self-management supports is a key area of focus and interaction for nurses.


Chronic Disease
Strategies to Support Self Management in Chronic Conditions
Background Information