The Self Care Toolkit - NHS

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The Self CareToolkit .is for people wholive with persistenthealth conditionsA persistent health problem can be difficult tounderstand and manage on an everyday basis.The self-management toolkit is a simple informationbooklet that could provide you with some handy tips andskills to support you along the way to manage yourhealth and yourcondition. It is not meant to be thelast word in self care but a handy guide to help you get started - all you need to be is willing to read it and take on board some of the suggestions. Good luck! Pete Moore Pete Moore who has persistent pain, asthma and osteoarthritis, has put these tools together with the help of DrFrances Cole a GP.Special thanks to NHSKirklees Primary CareTrust.If you require further copies of this title and quote 403298/Self Care ToolkitTel:0300 123 1002 Fax:01623 724 524 Minicom: 0300 12301003 (8am-6pm, Monday to Friday) 10k Oct 10

The Vicious Health CycleHealth conditionTime offwork,moneyworries,relationshipconcernsBeing less activeSometimes the arrows canalso go anti clockwise aswell. For example - time offwork can lead to negativethinking fear of the future can lead to stress, fear etcNegativethinking,fear of thefuture,depression/moodswingsWeight gain/lossStress/fear/anxiety/anger/frustrationLoss of fitness,weak musclesand jointstiffnessCreate ‘no go’lists of thingsyou cannot doSleep problems/tiredness/fatigueDo you recognise yourself in the Vicious Health Cycle?If so, ask yourself these three questions1.2.3.Do you do more on good days and less on bad days?Are you an over achiever – doing more than you haveto?Are you a people pleaser? Do you have a problemsaying NO to others when you are asked to do things?Could you see yourself in the vicious health cycle and didyou recognise yourself in the three questions above? If youdid, then this Self Care Toolkit could be for you, so pleaseread on.22

For many people a persistent health condition can bedisabling and frustrating for many to manage. Some peoplemay not respond to standard medical treatment which canadd to the frustration. In some cases people are told byhealthcare professionals after a diagnosis or assessment:“I am afraid you have a chronic or long-term health problem.You will have to learn to live with it.”To date, your healthcare professionalsmay have done all that they can to helpyou and may have used many of thetools available in their toolkit. Howeverthere are so many things that you cando to help self-manage your health withthe support of your health careprofessional, family, friends and workcolleagues. All you need is to bewilling to ask for help.Have you become a ‘can’t do’ person?A ‘can’t do’ person is someone who has tried to carry out ortake part in everyday tasks such as going to work, doing thehouse work, gardening, playing a sport, taking holidays, goingto the cinema, eating out or taking part in family activities buthas stopped or given them up because of their healthcondition. When this happens is it usual for your confidencelevels to reduce. Is this ringing any bells? If you havereached this point you need to stopand take action.By taking on board and practisingthe tools in the Self Care Toolkit youcould become a ‘can do’ personagain but it could take time soplease be patient with yourself. 33

Are persistent health conditions a bigproblem here in the UK?The short answer is yes so you are not on yourown. Persistent health conditions affect morethan 15.4 million people in the UK in theireveryday living. They can be disabling andfrustrating for many people to deal with. Healthproblems can also affect the relationships withfamily, friends and work colleagues.“But why do I need to manage my health condition?I see my health care professional and aren’t theysupposed to do that for me?”Many people with persistent health condition see their healthcare professional for treatment, help and support. But haveyou actually estimated just how many hours during the courseof a year do you spend with your health care professional?It has been said that people with persistent health conditionsmay spend less than 3 hours a year on average in contactwith a health care professional. For the remaining ‘8,733hours’ in the year they are on their own.So as you can see, the need to become more involved inyour own self–care management is both necessary andimportant.It is certainly not all up to yourdoctor or health care professionalto manage your health condition.You have to play a vital part aswell - it is all about teamwork.Teamwork is essential forself management to becomethe winner!44

Yournext questionmaybebecoming“Well how activecan I becomeMakingchangesandmore involved and how do I get started?” Usingdifferentskills andcan be helpful to get youGP Exerciseon toolsReferralstarted.ItislikeamotorhastoolsIf you are unsure about mechanicbecomingwhoactiveormanyexercising,in yourhis/herto repaircars. onPeopleGPtoolboxcan referyou to andtheirmaintainGP tionoftoolstoscheme. These types of schemes are run within localhelpthemself-managetheir ownhealth forgymsandsuccessfullyfitness centresand can includefacilitiescondition.swimming. Ask at your GP surgery for more information.Youmay notto use all the tools suggested in anicit is bestThesetoAlso find out moregoodabout‘Walkingfor Health’.arehavea varietyof toolsthe localreadyBoroughto dip intowhen andusuallyrun locallybyatyourCouncil.Pleaseif theyalso arevisitneeded.the Walking Health Initiative a persistent health condition is not ashardas you programmesmay think - so let’s get startedand look atExerciseBody care:thefirst tool inityourcareSometimescan selfseemliketoolkit. Looking after your wholebody is very important,here are as many exerciseso please think about: programmes as there are Eating healthydifferentmakesofcarsonthe foodroad. Here are a few common Sleep – sleepingones. only at night and Yoga avoiding cat napsTai Chiduring the day Pilates Hygiene – washing (pronounced Pil ar tes)and grooming your body daily. Please make sure that your teacher is qualifiedLooking after your bodyis very important and so and experienced init is vital that you look at teaching people withwhat you put into it, that persistent health get enough of the healthier types of foodYou should be encouraged to and the right amount ofexercise at a pace that feelssleep and you also keep yourself clean.rightforyou. 5517


16 reasons whystretching and exercising (don’t forget swimming) is good for you Helps to improveand maintain good overall health Increases strong cardiovascular system – heart lungs Reduces the risk of persistent illnesses Increases muscle strength Improvesflexibility Increases endurance and stamina Increases natural pain killers (called endorphins) in the bodies nervous system which help control pain. Helps with weight control Helps to improve quality of sleep Helps balance and co-ordination Reduces fatigue and increases energy Reduces muscular tension, stress and depression Helps combat depressionand anxiety Helps maintain a positive outlook Helps to prevent constipation Can be sociable. Drinking water Water is essential for a healthy life so drinking plenty of water is important for everyone. It’s even more important ifyou are taking part in physical exercise, so make sure you keep properly hydrated before, during and after exercising. and blood vessels7715



Always ask for help and support from your health care professional, family, friends and work colleagues. In time you will become more confident and in control”. Dr Frances Cole is a GP and Pain Rehabilitation Specialist and Cognitive Behavioural Therapist in Yorkshire UK. She is a member of the British Pain Society and co-author of the self help guide “Overcoming Chronic Pain”. Pete .

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