A relapse prevention plan can help patients be ready to deal with setbacks. The plan helps patients think about what symptoms may arise if/when conditions begin to worsen and what they can do when they notice those symptoms. A relapse prevention plan usually includes steps for behavior changes pertaining to sleep, diet, and/or physical activity, in addition to health care system activities such as making an appointment with a primary care provider or counselor. Patients and providers should work together to develop a relapse prevention plan that emphasizes avoidance of triggers and tips for managing situations that make behavior change difficult.
Be sure to consider the patient’s unique beliefs, learning preferences, literacy, and cultural factors to identify appropriate teaching and communication methods and tools.
Your care team might facilitate patient self-management through the following methods:
- Sharing printed materials (e.g., handouts, brochures, note cards, newsletters).
- Offering Web-based resources (e.g., links to videos, Web-based documents, online forums or support groups, and other online resources).
- Conducting group visits to facilitate patients learning from each other and to reach patients more efficiently than on an individual appointment basis.
- Connecting patients with outside resources (e.g., external support groups, community-based organizations).