Chronic diseases may impact older adults' health outcomes, health care costs, and quality of life. Self-management is expected to encourage individuals to make autonomous decisions, adhere to treatment plans, deal with emotional and social consequences, and provide choices for healthy lifestyle. New eHealth solutions significantly increase the health literacy and empower patients in self-management of chronic conditions.
This study aims to develop a Community-Based e-Health Program (CeHP) for older adults with chronic diseases and conduct a pilot evaluation.
A pilot study with a 2-group pre- and posttest repeated measures design was adopted. Community-dwelling older adults with chronic diseases were recruited from senior activity centers in Singapore. A systematic 3-step process of developing CeHP was coupled with a smart-device application. The development of the CeHP intervention consists of theoretical framework, client-centric participatory action research process, content validity assessment, and pilot testing. Self-reported survey questionnaires and health outcomes were measured before and after the CeHP. The instruments used were the Self-care of Chronic Illness Inventory (SCCII), Healthy Aging Instrument (HAI), Short-Form Health Literacy Scale, 12 Items (HLS-SF 12), Patient Empowerment Scale (PES), and Social Support Questionnaire, 6 items. The following health outcomes were measured: Montreal Cognitive Assessment, Symbol Digit Modalities Test, total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins/very-low-density lipoproteins (LDL/VLDL), fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and BMI.
The CeHP consists of health education, monitoring, and an advisory system for older adults to manage their chronic conditions. It is an 8-week intensive program, including face-to-face and eHealth (Care4Senior App) sessions. Care4Senior App covers health education topics focusing on the management of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes, brain health, healthy diet, lifestyle modification, medication adherence, exercise, and mindfulness practice. Content validity assessment indicated that the content of the CeHP is valid, with a content validity index (CVI) ranging 0.86-1 and a scale-CVI of 1. Eight participants in the CeHP group and 4 in the control group completed both baseline and post intervention assessments. Participants in the CeHP group showed improvements in fasting glucose, HbA1c, TC, LDL/VLDL, BMI, SCCII indices (Maintenance, Monitoring, and Management), HAI, and PES scores post intervention, although these changes were not significant. For the participants in the control group, the scores for SCCII (management and confidence) and HLS-SF 12 decreased post intervention.
The CeHP is feasible, and it engages and empowers community-dwelling older adults to manage their chronic conditions. The rigorous process of program development and pilot evaluation provided valid evidence to expand the CeHP to a larger-scale implementation to encourage self-management, reduce debilitating complications of poorly controlled chronic diseases, promote healthy longevity and social support, and reduce health care costs.