Self care means looking after yourself in a healthy way, whether it’s brushing your teeth, taking medicine when you have a cold, or doing some exercise.
If you have a long-term condition, there are extra things you may need to consider, such as making changes to your diet, different types of exercise or different types of medication you may need to take.
Self care means staying active by doing things that are important to you, such as gardening, seeing friends and family, going on holiday and continuing to work, if possible. It involves looking at what you can do and want to do rather than what you can’t do.
Self care doesn’t mean you get less help from your doctor. The healthcare team is still there to support you. What and how much support you need will be discussed with you and written in your care plan.
Self care and choice
When you talk to your GP or nurse about your condition, you may want to discuss some of the things you need to do to stay well. Some of these will be things that you do yourself, including eating healthily, exercising or taking your medicines at the right time.
You might want to make choices about your care and who will provide it. This means sitting down with your nurse or GP and looking at what treatment and care is available and recording it in a care plan.
When you’re first diagnosed with a long-term condition, these choices will be important. If your condition improves or gets worse, or other things in your life change, you may need to change your care plan to suit your needs. (From NHS Choices)
NHS 111 provides a new way to ensure people receive the right care, from the right person, in the right time and place.
When you call 111, a trained adviser will ask you questions to find out what’s wrong, give you medical advice and direct you to someone who can help you, like an out-of-hours doctor or a community nurse. If the adviser thinks your condition is more serious, they will direct you to hospital or send an ambulance. If you don’t speak English, tell the adviser what language you want to speak and they will get you an interpreter.
You can call 111 free from landlines and mobile phones. 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Call 111 if you need medical help fast, but it’s not life-threatening – for example, if you:
• think you need to go to hospital
• don’t know who to call for medical help
• don’t have a GP to call
• need medical advice or reassurance about what to do next
For health needs that are not urgent, you should call your GP. NHS 111 replaces the NHS Direct service and will also be the number to call to get access to the local GP out of hours service.