Support for self-care

Thursday 26 April 2007

Research shows that supporting people to manage their own health can improve health outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and help in deploying the biggest collaborative resource available to the NHS and social care – patients and the public.

On Monday April 30th around 60 experts on self-care from around the UK – including key policy makers, practitioners and researchers – will attend a conference in Dundee to discuss the latest developments in how people can be supported to manage their own illness.

The conference is being staged by the Social Dimensions of Health Institute, the joint venture of the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews.

Delegates will hear presentations from five leading speakers, detailing the latest research evidence and current developments relating to support for self care.

“People are living longer with poor health, which brings up issues of the best way to care for them and manage their illness,¿ said Dr Martyn Jones, associate director of the Social Dimensions of Health Institute and a senior lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Dundee.

“There is a large amount of evidence that more people are surviving health conditions that would have been fatal in the fairly recent past, including diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease,”

“Self care is the entire system we can use to support people in managing their illnesses, which if we do well leads to them having fewer unexpected visits to hospital.”

The conference takes place from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday April 30th at the University of Dundee.

The five main presentations at the conference are: Supporting Self-Care: What Works? Angela Coulter, Chief Executive, The Picker Institute

Supporting Self Care: What Can Organisations Do? Debbie Singh, Author "Transforming Chronic Care¿ and Senior Associate, Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham

Supporting Self-Care in "Hard To Reach" Groups Dawn Wilkinson, Centre for Outcome Research & Effectiveness, University College London

The Nursing, Midwifery & Health Visiting Contribution to Chronic Disease Management Sally Kendal, Director of the Centre for Research in Primary & Community Care, University of Hertfordshire

Responding to the Epidemic of Chronic Disease - An International Comparison Ellen Nolte, European Observatory on Health Systems And Policies, LSHTM

*About self-care

Self care is all that people do to maintain their health, prevent illness, seek treatment or support, manage symptoms of illness and side effects of treatment, accomplish recovery and rehabilitationand manage the impact of chronic illness and disability on their lives and independence. Self care is a very broad term for this wide range of activities that includes what is also often called self management.

Self care includes the things people do:

· to maintain their own health (such as brushing teeth regularly, increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables they eat, stopping smoking);

· when they have symptoms (monitoring how they or the people they care for are, resting, getting advice from the pharmacist and taking medicines); · when they have long-term conditions (planning activities around their symptoms, trying different ways to maintain their 'normal' lives, monitoring their symptoms, taking medications and other treatments).



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