The Self Care Forum has made a range of materials available to help healthcare providers get involved with this year’s Self Care Week (14-20 November), including a 'Signpost to Pharmacy' poster for GP surgeries, a Pain Toolkit and a Self Care Guide issued by the Local Government Association (LGA).
The Self Care Forum spoke to P3 about the opportunities the event presents for pharmacists, saying it "can be used as a vehicle to proactively help people self care by offering advice on self treatable conditions, medicine use and lifestyle choices".
The LGA guide stresses the benefits of self care for both patients and health services, saying that it “creates a feeling of control and reduces anxiety for the individual” and “frees up the time of health and care staff”.
Despite repeated calls over the years to enable patients to manage their health, many people still attend GPs and A&E unnecessarily, says the LGA, and many with long-term conditions fail to take medicines as prescribed. Their guide lists barriers faced, including the difficulties patients have in communicating their needs to health workers, a focus on single conditions although many are living with multiple conditions, and a failure to co-ordinate effectively between different services within health and social care.
Self Care Week aims to overcome these barriers through promoting awareness of how lifestyle changes and support from primary care services can help people to manage their health.
Additional materials that pharmacies can use include fact sheets on conditions that can be managed through self care, such as migraine and indigestion, and a conference video exploring ways to empower people to look after their health.
Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said: "Pharmacists clearly have a frontline role to play in supporting people with information and empowering them to take responsibility for their own health."
Follow the conversation about Self Care Week on Twitter via #SCWchat