Flinders Program reaches out across the globe

From Hong Kong and Mexico to remote Aboriginal, Maori and Pacific communities, Flinders University’s chronic condition self-management programs are making strong inroads.

The Flinders Program is being used in rural Mexico and Peru, and also for Afghani refugees in the US, as well as translated for Hong Kong and mainland China mental health services. The Flinders Closing the Gap Program and related research is providing valuable care-planning tools in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Overseas users like the pictorial layout for ease of use where people may need support with literacy,” says Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit (FHBHRU) co-director Psychiatry, Professor Sharon Lawn.

“The holistic approach also aligns with broader cultural health contexts for these various populations – and this seems to be growing.”

Professor Lawn says the Flinders Closing the Gap Program chronic condition care planning tool engages Indigenous people in self-managing their chronic conditions, with Indigenous health workers providing culturally appropriate self-management support.

The Flinders Chronic Condition Management Program (or Flinders Program) is a generic set of tools and processes enabling health professionals to support their clients to more effectively self-manage their chronic condition(s).

The program is a self-management partnership based on cognitive behaviour therapy, problem solving and motivational interviewing techniques. Clients actively participate in making decisions about their physical, emotional and social well-being.

Health practitioners work collaboratively with clients using the program tools to assess self-management behaviours, barriers, psychosocial issues and preferences, and produce an individualised care plan that includes problem and goal statements, interventions, steps and responsibilities that align with the client’s values, priorities and beliefs.

The Partners in Health Scale, developed to measure self-management and self-management support, has been widely translated including in Sweden, Brazil, France and the Netherlands.

In the past year, Mexico’s Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas academics Dr Isabel Peñarrieta De Cordova and Dr Rodrigo Hernandez have become accredited trainers in the Flinders Program, while Ms Sania Yau, Chief Executive Officer of New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association in Hong Kong led a delegation to Flinders Psychiatry.

Head of Psychiatry at Flinders, Professor Malcolm Battersby, gave the keynote presentation at the 50th Anniversary Symposium of the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association last year. The Hong Kong partners at New Life have also trained in the program and used the Chinese translations for their clients.

The Flinders Program is also used to support people of all ages, including adolescents and older people, Vietnam veterans and other groups in Australia.

  • The next two-day Flinders Chronic Condition Management Workshop will be held on 21-22 August.  Register here
  • Professor Malcolm Battersby will deliver the next Flinders Investigators Research Lecture on Wednesday 23 August (5.30pm-7pm). The topic is ‘New developments in psychological and internet based treatments for anxiety and depression.’ Register here
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