The rising rate of chronic conditions

In Australia ‘87% of people aged 65 and over had at least one of eight chronic diseases in 2014 – 15’.1

And is not just in the West, currently 60 % of the global disease burden is attributed to chronic conditions and this is expected to rise to 80 % in 2020 as the world’s population ages.2

For the latest statistics in Australia click here for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Australia’s (AIHW) Health 2018 brief report.

Chronic condition self-management

Self-management is the daily choices a person makes to look after themself. It is not just about the medical management of symptoms, but dealing with the emotional issues created by living with the condition and going through the process adjusting to a ‘new normal’ finding meaning and purpose, and renewing their sense of self.

Ideally the ‘patient’ is the expert in their condition, accepts responsibility for their health, problem solves and works in a collaborative partnership with health professionals to optimise their health.

Self-management is supported in a social, holistic model of health not the medical model of the acute care sector. Research shows the benefit of community in managing and preventing chronic illness.3

For more information see the article Chronic condition prevention and self-management

Chronic condition management support

Click here to read more about the principles of chronic condition management and an example of how a Faith Community Nurse role supports chronic condition management. Faith Community Nurses can support people across the continuum of care from prevention to supporting clients to learn self-management skills.

Click here to read Dan’s story – a case study on whole person health and chronic condition management.

Chronic condition management support requires some of the skills of care coordination and navigating the health system.

Faith Community Nurses can provide the supportive community network and mobilise specifically trained volunteers for informed friendship.

Friendship initiatives

Social isolation contributes to illness whilst social inclusion in a healthy community promotes recovery. In the area of mental illness it is estimated that a ten percent reduction in social isolation would translate to an annual reduction of $3B (AUD) health dollars just in the area of mental illness!4

Faith communities are the only groups in Australian community life which meet together regularly, voluntarily, across the life span, for the long term, and this enables us to offer something that cannot be simulated, namely genuine, life-enhancing, healing relationships.

Read more from the article ‘Genuine friendship promotes hope and health’

Resource: Informed friend program from Baptist Care SA


  2. World Health Organization (2002) Care for Chronic Conditions: Building Blocks for Action, World Health Organization, Geneva. Accessed 29th August 2013
  3. The article under heading ‘Does other research support CCPSM?’
  4. Rohde, N., D’Ambrosio, C., Tang, K.K. &Rao, P., 2015. Estimating the Mental Health Effects of Social Isolation. Applied Research in Quality of Life, pp.1-17.