This year’s Self Care Weekwill be taking place from 14-20 November. Self Care Week2011 aims to help people (especially those with a long-term health condition) to take care of themselves by learning more about what’s available to help them look after their own health and wellbeing better. Self-care is all about:
- keeping fit and healthy;
- knowing how to self-administerrequired medicines;
- understanding how to treat minor ailments;
- learning how to live with a long-term condition;
- seeking help, when needed.
The Department of Health has described self-care as:
“the actions people take for themselves, their children and their families to stay fit and maintain good physical and mental health; meet social and psychological needs; prevent illness or accidents; care for minor ailments and long-term conditions; and maintain health and wellbeing after an acute illness or discharge from hospital”.
This year’s campaign builds on the success of the campaigns run in 2009 and 2010 by the Department of Health, and is being run this year in partnership with the Self Care Forum. The Self Care Forum was established in May 2011 with the specific aim of encouraging people to adopt the principles of ‘self-care’ and to embed self-care into everyday life. Members of the Self Care Forum include patients, GPs, nurses, pharmacists, and health service managers.
Research has shown that proactively supporting self-management and focusing on behaviour change can have an impact on clinical outcomes and emergency service use. The Self Care Forum supports this notion and believes that living healthy lives is an important component of self-care, which prepares us for dealing with commonly-occurring and/or long-term conditions.
Self Care Week 2011is an opportunity for organisations and networks to raise awareness of the importance of self-care by promoting the campaign in newsletters, events, or through web buttons/banners on on-line and off-line materials.Free resources are available to download from the Department of Health website.
Whilst employers have a duty to promote and protect the health of their employees, the burden of responsibility cannot be placed on them alone: individuals must make personal choices and take responsibility for their own health and lifestyle. However, by promoting self-care to staff, employers will improve their business by helping to keep their main asset (their employees!) healthy and productive.
For more information on employee health issues, call the free Health for Work Adviceline on 0800 0 77 88 44.