BACKGROUND: Condition Management Programmes (CMPs), delivered through primary care settings, have been identified as possible vehicles to facilitate return to work for individuals with chronic health problems. There is little research, however, which examines how such programmes are received by patients.
OBJECTIVE: To explore patients' experiences of CMPs in terms of health, well-being and employability.
METHODS: Four focus groups and nine semi-structured interviews were conducted in order to capture patients' (n = 25) perceptions and experiences regarding participation in one of five different CMPs: Cardiac Rehabilitation, Counselling, Lower Back Pain Services, Smoking Cessation and a GP Exercise Referral Programme.
RESULTS: Experiences of the CMPs were generally positive. Respondents reported improved health behaviours (specifically better diets and increased exercise), positive psychosocial outcomes (including increased self-esteem, confidence and social support) and in some cases, return to work. However, concerns were expressed about the shortness of interventions and their accessibility.
CONCLUSIONS: Although condition management appears to have been well received by participants, the findings also illustrate that there is no 'one size fits all' template for CMPs. Rather, interventions should be adapted to take account of the dynamics of specific conditions, the context in which the intervention is based and the characteristics of the individuals involved.
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