- Posted Wednesday October 11, 2017
Practices often have patients present who may not have anything physically wrong with them, but could actually do with some help and support. Promoting self-care and wellbeing in your practice could be incredibly beneficial for this type of patient.
The idea of wellbeing has moved away from being solely associated with physical health to include overall welfare, which means considering mental health too. Taking all of this into account to promote self-care for every patient could drastically reduce the number of appointments needed.
For example Maureen, a 78-year-old widowed pensioner with arthritis, may not need a large amount of medical attention but she is possibly very lonely. Or take Ted, a 60-year-old recently retired teacher with high blood pressure and an even higher IQ. Their wellbeing certainly needs something more than their usual prescribed medication.
As previously mentioned, if the practice already has an established community it would be beneficial to integrate these types of patients into it. If it doesn’t have that type of community, could you develop one?
The NHS recommends the following five steps, and we’ve provided examples of activities:
- Connect – Reach out to the people around you. In the community this could mean arranging a tea and talk session where people get together for a little chat.
- Be Active – This could be a walk around the nearest park or arranging for a local gym to run a class designed for a specific age range.
- Keep Learning – Why not help run a monthly quiz, or new cookery or art class?
- Give to Others – Arrange charity events like a bake sale or fun run.
- Be Mindful - Encourage others to take stock of what is going on in their lives. Pause and take a breath… perhaps run a meditation class.
Depending on your practice, some of these may be more realistic than others. If the practice is too stretched to provide them there’s a possibility that one or more has already been set up somewhere in the community. All the practice may need to do is join the dots between patient and activity.
Other simple wellbeing tips that you can promote in your practice are:
- Eat Well - Oily fish, fruit and veg are just some components to a healthy diet.
- Drink Lots of Water – Promote staying hydrated!
- Sleep - Between 7 and 8 hours a night is recommended.
- Talk - Don’t bottle up how you’re feeling - it may just explode.
- Ask for Help - Most importantly, don’t drown in work. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.
The NHS continually runs campaigns centred on all on the above You can do your bit in your practice by simply making people aware by sharing on social media, printing off posters or even doing things ’the old fashioned way’ and speaking face-to-face with patients!
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, LinkedIn and Facebook pages for more great examples of how to boost engagement and build community spirit at your practice.