GUIDANCE on how patients in the county can better manage their health is being issued by NHS Derbyshire to coincide with national Self Care Week.
By learning how to self care – many people in Derbyshire can enjoy a better quality of life, suffer less pain, anxiety, depression and illness. Keeping fit and healthy, taking medicines properly, seeking medical advice when they needed, and finding out how to treat minor illnesses are also key.
Self Care Week runs from Tuesday, November 15 to Monday, November 21.
Keith Mann, head of primary care contracts, for NHS Derbyshire, said: “Learning to look after your health puts you in control of your life. It also improves the quality of your life and helps you live more healthily.
“Getting to grips with an illness or learning to ask questions all takes time, but the right information will help patients in the Ripley area make the right choices and enable them to make life-changing improvements to their health.”
Patients with long term illnesses, such as asthma and diabetes, are most likely to benefit from self care – as they spend an average of four hours a year with a health professional.
Making a checklist of key questions to ask before their appointment, such as ‘Who Do I contact if things get worse?’ and ‘How and when will I get test results?’ could play a significant role in reducing GP and hospital visits.
“We’d urge any patient suffering from a long term illness to take a look at our easy-to-use ‘Information Prescriptions’ guides, talk to their GP or specialist about how they can better plan their visit, and find out more about the various exercise courses available which will put them back in control of their own health and well being,” Mr Mann added.
Vulnerable patients, including the elderly, pregnant women and those with a long term illness, are being reminded that it’s not too late for them to make an appointment with their doctor to have the winter flu jab. Having the flu jab is the best way to protect against the potentially deadly virus – which killed 600 people last year.
Pharmacies are also on hand to provide expert advice on everyday illnesses, such as coughs and colds. They can also answer questions about prescribed and over the counter medicines – all without the need for an appointment.
Copies of NHS Derbyshire’s ‘Information Prescriptions’ guides, which provide free advice and useful contacts for people suffering with long term illnesses are available at www.derbyshirecounty.nhs.uk/long-term-conditions or by contacting the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0800 783 7279. Topics covered include heart disease, arthritis, stroke and cancer.