Around 15 million people in England have one or more long-term conditions, and this is predicted to rise by a third over the next ten years (Department of Health 2011).
Self management UK defines self management as: “The systematic process of learning and practicing skills which enable individuals to manage their health condition on a day-to-day basis, through practicing and adopting specific behaviours which are central to managing their condition, making informed decisions about care, and engaging in healthy behaviours to reduce the physical and emotional impact of their illness, with or without the collaboration of the health care system.”
Put simply, self management offers a way for people with long term conditions to create a more sustainable way of living with a health condition.
As a nurse you have
a clear role in supporting patients in making healthy choices and in directing
people to useful sources of information. You can also provide advice, education
and training to help people manage their condition, to know when to seek
medical help and when they can self-manage their symptoms.
NHS Choices webpage Your health, your way - Your NHS guide to long-termconditions and self care provides
some useful information. See also: SelfCare Week 2015 Resources – Self care for life.
It is important to make sure we take prescribed medication as advised and do not take antibiotics unnecessarily. It is also about the supported self-management for people living with long term conditions.
Over use of
antibiotics is of increasing concern and antibiotic resistance (AMR
Antimicrobial resistance) is a major problem, see: World Health Organization - Antimicrobial resistance. It is seen as one of the most significant threats
to patients' safety in Europe. Better controls are needed to
prevent over use of antibiotics and appropriate education programmes
set in place to ensure patients know when to take them properly.
antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. To slow
resistance we need to cut the unnecessary use of antibiotics. The public,
students and educators, farmers, the veterinary and medical communities and
professional organisations are being asked to become Antibiotic Guardians. This is a UK
wide initiative led by Public Health England.
The Department of
Health’s UK 5 YearAntimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018 sets out actions
to slow the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance with a focus on
Pharmacy and self
are increasingly a source of information and advice for people in supporting
self-care. The NHS Minor Ailment service is now available through many
community pharmacies. See: The Royal College of Pharmacists animation on Minor Ailment Services. The service is very often more convenient and the
results for patients just as good as being seen at a GP surgery or in A&E.
A campaign from Pharmacy Voice and PAGB (Proprietary Association of
Great Britain) has urged people to self-treat winter ailments such as coughs
and colds rather than going to the GP surgery and asking for antibiotics which
are ineffective in treating the symptoms of viral infections. The
campaign ran until the end of February 2014, see: Treat yourself better withpharmacist advice.
RCN support for keeping well and staying healthy
The RCN healthy workplace site has lots of information and support for nursing staff on staying healthy and making the most of work life balance and for employers to creating a good working environment.