A team in a digestive disease center at a 550-bed tertiary care center in the Southeast created an interactive, educational patient and family support group for people with pancreatitis. No previous support groups for this population could be located in the United States by us, although pancreatitis is a disease that may progress to include chronic pain, frequent hospitalizations or emergency room visits, narcotic dependence, and depression.
The article describes and illustrates the need, planning, inception, implementation, evaluation, and re-visioning of an outpatient support and education group for people affected by pancreatitis. The group uses a partnership model as a basis for helping empower patients and their family members to have more understanding of, adaption to, and say in the treatment choices and responsibility for managing symptoms of their chronic illness. Facilitated by a multidisciplinary team, this is the first group of its kind in the United States and was enthusiastically received by those who participated.
Group members were surveyed at the conclusion of the first ten group sessions. Results of this survey and modification to the group format and expanded outreach plans to people affected by pancreatitis are outlined and discussed.