1VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA.
Objective. Chronic hepatitis C infection afflicts millions of people worldwide. Although antiviral treatments are increasingly effective, many hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients avoid treatment, do not complete or respond to treatment, or have contraindications. Self-management interventions are one option for promoting behavioral changes leading to liver wellness and improved quality of life. Our objective was to evaluate whether the effects of the HCV self-management program were sustained at the 12-month follow-up assessment. Methods. Veteran Affairs patients with hepatitis C (N = 134; mean age = 54.6 years, 95% male, 41% ethnic minority, 48% homeless in last 5 years) were randomized to either a 6-week self-management workshop or an information-only intervention. The weekly 2-hour self-management sessions were based on a cognitive-behavioral program with hepatitis C-specific modules. Outcomes including hepatitis C knowledge, depression, energy, and health-related quality of life were measured at baseline, 6 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months later. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA. Results. Compared with the information-only group, participants attending the self-management workshop improved more on HCV knowledge (p < .005), SF-36 energy/vitality (p = .016), and the Quality of Well-Being Scale (p = .036). Similar trends were found for SF-36 physical functioning and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Short Depression Scale. Conclusion. Better outcomes were sustained among self-management participants at the 12-month assessment despite the intervention only lasting 6 weeks. HCV health care providers should consider adding self-management interventions for patients with chronic HCV.