This week is Self Care week run by the self-care forum.
Did you know that despite people’s willingness to initially self-treat, there are still 57 million GP consultations a year for minor ailments at a total cost to the NHS of £2 billion, which takes up, on average, an hour a day for every GP? Research shows that people often abandon self-care earlier than they need to, typically seeking the advice of a doctor within a period of 4-7 days. More than 9 out of 10 GPs also now believe that self-care by patients has an important role to play in general practice.
Around 80% of all care in the UK is self-care. If you have a long-term condition, self-care is about understanding that condition and how to live with it. This year’s theme is ‘Embracing Self Care for Life’. The aim is to help you stay healthy for your whole life.
The Self Care Forum’s definition of Self Care is: “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 is all about keeping fit and healthy, understanding when you can look after yourself, when a pharmacist can help and when to get advice from your GP or another health professional.
There’s a lot you can do to help you improve your health and wellbeing:
- Lose weight – Develop healthier eating habits and get more active.
- Get fit – build activity into your day. Try to put some time aside to do activities that improve your heart health and muscle strength. The Government recommends doing at least 150 minutes of activity a week as well as strength exercises on two or more days a week. Every little helps. Choose an activity you enjoy. Why not; walk or ride part of your journey to work or the shops? Get off a bus or tube stop before your destination? If you drive, park further away from your office and walk or ride the rest of the way. Go for a walk or a ride with your friend rather than meeting for coffee. Exercise before or after work, or during your lunch break. Lots of gardening can provide a good workout and give you a fresh air boost to the lungs. Exercise in front of the TV with home equipment or try an online video workout
- Stop smoking; People breathe more easily and cough less when they give up smoking because their lung capacity improves by up to 10% within nine months. Within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, your blood circulation improves. This makes all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier. You will also give a boost to your immune system, making it easier to fight off colds and flu. The increase in oxygen in the body can also reduce tiredness
- Cut down on alcohol. Regularly drinking more than 14 units a week risks damaging your health. 14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine. There is now a better understanding of the link between drinking and some illnesses, including a range of cancers.
- Eat more healthily: The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how active you are so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight. Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs. It is recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day. Women should have around 2,000 calories a day. Most adults are eating more calories than they need
- Make the most of your pharmacist – Every year, millions of us visit our GP with minor health problems that a local pharmacy could help with. By visiting your pharmacy instead of your GP, you could save yourself time and trouble – no need to book an appointment, just walk in. This also means your GP can focus on treating people who are sicker than you. Pharmacists can help recognise and treat many common illnesses. They can give advice and where appropriate, recommend over-the-counter medicines that could help clear up the problem. If they think you need to see a GP for your illness, they will advise you to do that.
If you think that you need help from a health professional and are not sure what NHS service is most appropriate for your circumstance, call 111 which is the NHS non-emergency number and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The aim of the Self Care Forum is to further the reach of self-care and embed it into everyday life
The continuum illustrates the sliding scale of self-care in the UK, starting with the individual responsibility people take in making daily choices about their lifestyle, such as eating healthily or choosing to do exercise.
The NHS can support people to self-care at any point during the continuum.
How Acorn can help;
We provide a wide variety of NHS accredited training course programmes by Qualsafe Awards, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), College of Occupational Therapy (COT) and the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) for the delivery of first aid, food safety, manual handling and general safety courses.
We can provide bespoke training based on a care plan to family members for someone who has specific care requirements or School staff who need to look after a child with a long-term condition. We work regularly with staff members supporting a wide and diverse range of clients.
Our courses take into consideration a wide variety of published guidance and information from regulatory, advisory and professional bodies. This includes the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Resuscitation Council (UK).