Various “self-management” techniques have been shown to be effective in fostering appropriate health behaviours:
- increasing self-efficacy
- improving compliance with medication regimens
- decreasing pain
- improving health status, and
- lowering health-care costs in managing health conditions such as asthma, arthritis, and diabetes.
Why is supported self-management important?
The greatest challenge for the NHS is no longer curing infectious diseases or treating acute conditions. The greatest challenge now is enabling the nearly 1 in 3 people who have a long-term condition to live healthier and longer lives without bankrupting the NHS.
If that is the challenge, what is the reality?
The reality is that people who live with a long-term condition spend very few hours in contact with health services. Some of those hours are for routine tests and appointments; many are for crisis interventions. Treating their long-term condition demands a different sort of health service, one in which the primary function is to support people to self-manage.
This picture was drawn by people living with a long-term condition supported by some clinicians. It really does capture that reality nicely.
There is a growing appreciation in health services of this reality and of the central importance both to improving outcomes and to improving quality of people with a long-term condition being actively engaged in their care.