Supporting self-care for older people with frailty involves a number of different activities that can be summarised as:
- Understanding what is really important to the person, how that may be changing over time, and what that means in terms of what they want to be able to do or keep doing;
- Supporting them to assess, across the domains of frailty, what is helping them and what is getting in the way of them doing what they want to be able to do;
- Helping them to set personal goals;
- Supporting them to create an action plan through which to achieve these goals and identify where they need help;
- Supporting them to collect and understand information relevant to their needs;
- Supporting them to monitor and review progress towards their goals and understand how they are feeling;
- Supporting them to modify or redefine their goals, or add new ones, through their journey of frailty;
- Working with close family and informal carers to support the choices of the individual.
To be effective in supporting self-care in older people with frailty, the toolkit sets out the need for care professionals to develop the following skills:
- Forming people-centred partnerships;
- Engaging family and support networks;
- Effective communications;
- Supporting choice and managing risk;
- Maintaining skills and confidence;
- Signposting and providing information;
- Deploying assistive technology.
These skills are aligned with the seven common core principles of supported self-care. The principles were drawn up by the NHS and Social Services after consultation with service users, carers and other key stakeholders. Whilst these principles are relevant for anyone who requires support, regardless of whether they have frailty or any other long-term condition affecting their ability to lead a fully independent life, the emphasis differs.