How to Promote Self-Care at Your Practice

The 7th April is World Health Day, so to celebrate we thought we’d take a look at ways you can educate your patients on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and choosing the right type of care when unwell.

Self-care has been spoken about as a cure for the NHS crisis - it’s thought that if patients took better care of themselves and knew the right things to do when unwell, this would help save the NHS money whilst also freeing up GP time and overcrowded A&Es.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle

It’s common knowledge that you’re supposed to eat your 5-a-day and that smoking isn’t good for you, but often people need a reminder.

Utilise empty walls at your practice by sticking up posters that explain how to follow a healthy lifestyle and what happens if you don’t. Use statistics to drive the message home, like the following from the World Heart Federation:

1.7 million (2.8 per cent) of deaths worldwide are attributable to low fruit and vegetable consumption

Social media is another great tool to use, as the majority of UK adults and teenagers will use either Twitter or Facebook. Create a profile for your practice if you don’t have one set up already and share infographics like the examples below:

Pictures are really useful for this as they will grab patients’ attention and can be easily found on social media profiles belonging to CCGs and the NHS for you to reuse and share.

Choosing the right type of care

A huge part of self-care is educating patients on where to go when they feel unwell, whether that’s the pharmacy, booking a doctor’s appointment or calling 999. Data tells us that 12% of people have used A&E in the past when they knew nothing was seriously wrong with them and 18% of GP workload is for common complaints alone.

The NHS started a Choose Well campaign to advise patients on what services are out there and how best to handle injuries and illnesses depending on their severity, aiming to help free up NHS resources for those who really need it.

Once again, take advantage of your practice’s social media and the notice boards in your surgery to educate patients on what they should consider first before heading to the hospital or booking an appointment. The below infographic was used as part of the Choose Well campaign by Kernow CCG and your CCG or health board should have something similar for you to use.

Organise events

If you’re worried that a lot of your patients don’t use social media or you’re not confident using it yourself, you could round up some of your staff and PPG to attend a local event like a summer fayre - or why not see if you can set up a stall in a supermarket or shopping area near your practice.

You can then use this opportunity to speak to as many people as you can about self-care and choosing well. Make posters, distribute leaflets and hand out free fruit to make your stall informative and fun.

If you have any other good ideas on how to educate patients let us know in the comments section below. Stay tuned to FPM’s Twitter and Facebook pages for great examples of infographics and data to share with your patients.


Comments

Steve Benjamin 07/04/2017

They may not get it right on health messages, but thanks for pointing out that the Mail, Express and Sun got it right on the referendum and the general election. Not sure this platform is meant for politics, but hey, you started it.

Anne 05/04/2017

Re: educating patients. NHS money is being spent on educating patients to choose well, and the Daily Mail, Express and Sun and TV adverts are telling them to go to their GP. We all know that if it's in the papers it must be the right thing to do, look at the referendum and the last 2 gerneral election campaigns. Sorry to sound negative but we already do put a lot of effort into this locally, it's the government who need to lead by managing expectations instead of increasing demand on the nhs.


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