Self-care and self-management

Here you’ll find information on how to manage long-term conditions, where to go to for help, and what we’re doing to support people living with long-term conditions.

What is a long-term condition?

A long-term condition is one that cannot be cured but can be managed by medication, therapy and lifestyle changes. Examples are diabetes, asthma, arthritis, dementia and coronary heart disease.

Because long-term illness can affect your quality of life, knowing how to manage your own condition is incredibly beneficial.

Looking after yourself (self-care)

Looking after your own health and wellbeing is called self-care. It doesn’t replace the professional help you receive but complements it.

It includes learning about your condition, managing it, coming to terms with its effect on your life, and taking responsibility for your own wellbeing.

Self-care could be as simple as taking your medications and eating well, but if it’s more complex than that, there are plenty of resources to help.

There are times when you might develop minor illnesses. For more information on how to stay healthy and getting the most appropriate treatment if you fall ill, look at our Health services page.

Benefits of self-care

Self-care improves your wellbeing by helping to:

  • prevent illness and accidents
  • maintain or improve fitness
  • keep spirits up
  • improve independence
  • prevent deterioration of your condition
  • involve you more in the care you receive

Your care plan

When you’re diagnosed with a long-term condition, you’ll produce a personalised care plan with your specialist. You’ll record agreed goals to help you manage your condition across all areas of your life, and discuss the lifestyle changes you’re prepared to make to achieve them.

Find out more about care plans the NHS Choices website

What we’re doing to improve your ability to live with long-term conditions

Because people are living longer – often with multiple health conditions – supporting those with long-term conditions to stay healthy and happy is an important aspect of the work we do.

We commission services to ensure that people receive the highest quality support that is needed to help manage the individual’s long-term conditions.

Apart from the personal benefits to patients, it helps to keep emergency and GP visits to a manageable level.

Our plans and priorities therefore include:

  • identifying high-risk patients who need extra help and support
  • forging stronger working partnerships between health, community and social care professionals to address all of your needs
  • improving services that reduce the need for emergency care, such as self care education
  • supporting the work of carers who are family and friends

Further information and support

NHS Choices provides information on managing long-term conditions with self care including:

  • working with your healthcare professionals
  • making and using a personal care plan
  • how to access information and support for your long-term condition
  • a self assessment of what help and support you may be entitled to