The self-care approach encourages less medical involvement, and a more holistic approach to care for people living with one or more long-term condition, by considering first and foremost how the person with the condition feels and wishes to live their life, rather than just focusing upon the clinical aspects of their medical condition. It helps people to have choice and control over their care, and helps them to plan that care in a way which means that they can live the lives that they want to lead.

Self-care gives people greater opportunities to make their own decisions, manage their own risks and to set their individual goals and priorities for care. As such, it helps to enable and empower people, and to improve their experience of care, clinical outcomes and quality of life. Promoting self-care therefore means moving away from a traditional model of care, where patients are seen as passive recipients of care, towards a new model, in which individuals are seen as active participants in their own care.

As well as the benefits for individuals, their carers and their families, self-care can also have benefits for health and care systems by reducing the costs of care and contributing to the sustainability of our health and care systems.

The benefits of self-care, both to the individual and to the wider health care system, are especially relevant in the context of our ageing population resulting in increasing numbers of older people with multiple long-term conditions, including frailty.

People feel more confident in managing their own care when they are encouraged to do so by professionals. Supporting self-care is therefore an important part of this model of care.


Further information:
The Health Foundation Person-centred care resource centre

A series of videos from Access Dorset, a group of disabled and older people who felt
they needed a representative voice in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset.