Written by Jennifer Pell
Empowering patients to take control and responsibility for their health is the key to effective healthcare. This winter there are 2 campaigns hoping to increase patient awareness about self-care with the aim to reduce the annual pressure on GPs and A&E departments during the winter months.
Self-Care Week 2014
Running from 17th – 23rd November this year’s theme is “Self-Care for life – Be healthy this winter.” CCGs such as Bracknell & Ascot CCG, have organised a variety of events to actively engage with patients to help them understand more about self-care and encourage life style changes. By promoting simple life style advice in such an engaging way Self-Care Week aims to reduce the pressure put on GPs due to minor illnesses by helping patients to beat off the winter blues.
A variety of resources are available to help promote Self-Care Week 2014 including information on the Self-Care Forum website such as banners, practice posters and example press releases.
“Feeling Under The Weather?” NHS Campaign
The NHS “Feeling Under The Weather?” campaign is similar in its goals to reduce pressure on the NHS urgent and emergency care system this winter, but it has chosen to focus on changing the behaviour of patients over the age of 60. Minor illness can get worse quickly in older patients and the NHS campaign promotes advice to prevent winter illnesses and explain how to get the best care if patients are concerned.
A variety of posters have recently been released by NHS England to encourage practices & pharmacies to promote the campaign this winter.
What are Practices already doing to promote self-care?
Self-care is a hot topic this season but we have been looking back over 2014 and found a variety of organisations have already been proactive in promoting self-care in their area, and have received positive feedback from patients:
- The Red House Surgery in Milton Keynes has been successfully promoting a variety of life style advice including “how to beat the winter blues” and “travel advice”.
- Bracknell & Ascot CGG have produced a popular My Health Bracknell & Ascot web app to help patients in their area access online self-care advice on their smart devices.
- Binfield Surgery in Bracknell has added a simple self-care guide for common ailments to their website and they also inform patients about local health care events by sending regular e-newsletters.