Self Care Week
The Self Care Forum’s Self Care Week is an annual awareness week taking place from the 13th to 19th November 2017. The Self Care Forum was established in May 2011 and is a resource for people and patient-facing organisations such as CCGs, surgeries, local councils, the voluntary and private sector to help them support people to take better care of their own health.
What is the aim of Self Care Week?
The Self Care Forum describes the aim of Self Care Week as “providing people-facing organisations with a focus to hold a targeted campaign to support people to take care of their health and wellbeing and improve their understanding of doing so”.
Awareness Weeks facilitate people from different backgrounds, coming together to share their experiences, helping to shine a light on a topic, in this case, self care. The collective voice of many people helps get the important message across and maximises the reach and impact.
The theme this year of Self Care Week is “engaging and empowering people to look after their own health” and the title is Embracing self care for life. You can get involved in the discussion on social Media by using #SelfCareWeek, #SelfCareForLife and @SelfCareForum.
What is Self Care?
The Self Care Forum defines self care as “The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness”.
Self care can relate to both physical health and mental health, with both being equally as important. People have an important role in their healthcare as ultimately it will be their choices, be it lifestyle or medical, that will determine healthcare outcomes. People play a key role in protecting their health and choosing appropriate treatments when required.
Self care can range from day to day choices to seeking medical aid for health problems. Knowing when to seek medical help and when not to, is now more important than ever. For example, annual attendances at A&E’s across England in 1987-88 was recorded as 13,903,667, compared to 23,371,928 attendances in 2016-2017. In this 19 year period attendances at A&E have almost doubled, and a lot of these visits are not emergencies and can be helped by other medical professionals such as GP’s or pharmacists.
The Self Care Forum suggest that around 80% of all care is self care, but in spite of this, 57 million unnecessary GP consultations a year are booked for minor ailments. These cost the NHS £2 billion and, on average, takes up to an hour a day of a GP’s time. This time could be much better spent on patients that genuinely need medical help.
This is where awareness of self care is important, not just for yourself, but to look out for your loved ones as well. Making healthy lifestyle choices is the first step to ensuring good health and people should always be mindful of their mental wellbeing. This is the foundation of self care which will hopefully mean people will not have to seek the help of a medical professional often.
Facts about Self Care in the UK
NHS England and Ipsos MORI combined to conduct a GP Patient Survey in 2014, to get feedback from patients on topics including Self Care. Here is a snapshot of the feedback regarding self care:
- 92.5% of patients are confident in managing their own health.
- 54% of all patients have one or more long-standing health condition.
- 63.7% of patients with a long-standing health condition say they received enough support from local services or organisations in the last six months to help them manage their condition.
- 90.6% of patients say they have no problems with self-care.
- 75.9% of patients say they have no problems with mobility.
- 73.8% of patients say they have no problems with usual activities.
- A notable proportion of patients (31.7%) have problems with anxiety or depression.
- Over 1 in 6 patients (17.4%) stated their activities were limited due to recent illness or injury.
- Only 3.1% said they had a written care plan, with 96.9% of people not having one, or didn’t know if they did.
- Of the patients who had a written care plan –
- 72% said they were involved in setting goals for themselves or choosing how they want to manage their own health.
- 70.9% said they use their written care plan to manage their day to day health
- 60.5% said that a GP, nurse or other health professionals regularly review their written care plan with them.
If you would like to see the full results of the survey please click here.