This year Self Care Week, a national, campaign which is co-ordinated annually by the Self Care Forum was 18th - 24th November and prompted us to consider what we can all do for our own health and wellbeing. This is different for everyone.
What is self care?
The things that people do for themselves (or with other people), to build or protect their health and wellbeing – caring for yourself!
We know how important wellbeing is; this is different for everyone. To support people to think about their self care and their own wellbeing, we have designed the Wellbeing Plan, which you can find in the ‘My Wellbeing’ section of the website.
Here is one we made earlier…
What could you include in your Wellbeing Plan?
Our simple “drag and drop” tool is easy to use and you can include anything that means something to you. It could be really practical things like information about your health, factsheets or videos, or medication lists. Or it might be something personal to you that is a reminder of why keeping well is important – something to keep you motivated and focused, for example, photos of family members, or a life goal.
More information from the Self Care Forum
Why is self care good for people?
Empowering people with the confidence and information to look after themselves when they can, and visit the GP when they need to, gives people greater control of their own health and encourages healthy behaviours that help prevent ill health in the long-term. In many cases people can take care of their minor ailments, reducing the number of GP consultations and enabling GPs to focus on caring for higher risk patients, such as those with comorbidities, the very young and elderly, managing long-term conditions and providing new services.
More cost-effective use of stretched NHS resources allows money to be spent where it’s most needed and improve health outcomes. Furthermore, increased personal responsibility around healthcare helps improve people’s health and wellbeing and better manage long-term conditions when they do develop. This will ultimately ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS.
Around 80% of all care in the UK is self care. The majority of people feel comfortable managing everyday minor ailments like coughs and colds themselves; particularly when they feel confident in recognising the symptoms and have successfully treated using an over-the-counter medicine before.
On average, people in the UK experience nearly four symptoms every fortnight, the three commonest being feeling tired/run down, headaches and joint pain and most of these are managed in the community without people seeking professional healthcare.
Often just simple changes aimed at meeting the needs of local communities can be very effective at encouraging increased self care. These include giving patients the information they need to care for their common ailments and to make healthy lifestyle choices, signposting people to the right local services and outreach work to provide health advice in non-traditional settings such as pubs, libraries and job centres. In the GP consultation itself, involving patients in their care through shared decision making has also proved to be a successful approach.