Did you know that if you are living with a long-term condition, you will spend, on average, six hours a year with a healthcare professional and the remaining 8,754 hours managing your health for yourself?
Living with a long-term condition brings challenges and it’s important to have the confidence, support and information to manage your health. Self care can help you make the most of living with your condition, rather than avoiding or missing out on things because of it. Self care puts you in control.
Research shows that people with long-term conditions who take more control of their health feel more able to cope with their health problem, have better pain management, fewer flare ups and more energy.
We are committed to helping you live your life with a long-term condition. We will work in partnership with you to create the right care plan for your needs. It’s important to think about what you want from a care plan – it can help if you know what you want to discuss with your GP. NHS website suggests some questions you could ask:
•Where can I find out about self help courses for people who have long-term conditions?
•I want to find out more about my condition. What are the best places to do this?
•Is there any new equipment that might help me manage day-to-day. If so, how do I get it?
•How do I meet other people who have the same condition as me? Is there a local or national support group?
•Are there any lifestyle changes I should make to help my health, such as giving up smoking, avoiding certain foods, or doing more of a certain type of exercise?
•What are the results of my tests and what do they mean for me?
•What happens next?
•What can I do?
•What can the doctor do?
Tips for living with a long-term condition
NHS Choices has created some practical tips on living with a long-term condition. Leaflet https://www.nhs.uk/Planners/yourhealth/Documents/Self%20Care%20Toolkit%20Booklet%20-%20Oct%2010%20-%20READ.pdf
•Accept you have a persistent health condition…and then begin to move on
•Get involved – building a support team
•Pacing – pacing your daily activities
•Learn to prioritise and plan your days
•Setting goals/action plans
•Being patient with yourself
•Learn relaxation skills
•Keep a diary and track your progress
•Have a plan for set-backs
•Team work – work with your practice team
•Keeping it up
Find out more about self care for long-term conditions
There is a range of free courses aimed at helping people who are living with a long-term condition to manage their condition better on a daily basis:
•DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating) and DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) for people with diabetes
•Breathe Easy for people with asthma – https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/breathe-easy
These courses usually run over several sessions and will provide advice and tools to put you in control of your condition. Ask your GP or the receptionist for details of courses in this area or visit NHS website.
The following websites provide good information that can help you understand more about the common condition or long-term health problem that affects you: