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For Release:  Nov. 12, 2009 
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications 
(405) 271-5601

Health Training Offered in Correctional Facilities for Chronic Disease Management

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) and the Oklahoman State Department of Health (OSDH) are providing a first-time community, evidence-based training program for community volunteers, ODOC employees, and offenders who plan to re-enter the community, to teach ways to manage their chronic health problems. The program, Living Longer, Living Stronger (LLLS), is designed to teach participants how to better manage their chronic health conditions, work with the current medical system to reduce hospital and physicians’ visits, reduce the burden of medical costs in Oklahoma, and increase work productivity by reducing illness. 

The LLLS program specifically addresses arthritis, diabetes, lung and heart disease, and teaches skills useful for managing a variety of chronic diseases. It covers topics such as techniques to deal with problems associated with chronic disease; appropriate exercise; appropriate use of medications; communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals; nutrition; and how to evaluate new treatments. The program is designed to provide health education to interested offenders and their support system such as family and friends, training opportunities to offenders who demonstrate outstanding management and leadership skills, and a worksite wellness program for employees wanting chronic disease self management education.

The LLLS program also addresses concerns related to health literacy. One million adult Oklahomans (43 percent) are currently at the lowest two literacy levels, according to the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy.  Of this percentage, there is a greater density of illiterate persons residing within our prison populations. Persons with the lowest literacy levels find it difficult to understand the instructions of medical care providers, read consent forms, and read and understand labels on prescription bottles. Low literacy can result in higher hospitalization rates, medication and treatment errors. This leads to an estimated cost of $73 billion each year nationally in unnecessary health care costs.

Training workshops have been held in Oklahoma City at the Clara Waters Correctional Center and in Taft at the Jess Dunn Corrections Center.  OSDH and ODOC plan to implement the Living Longer, Living Stronger with Chronic Conditions into the community correctional facilities statewide.





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