How self-care can support long-term conditions

Living with a long term condition can be difficult. To live well with a long-term condition, it is important that you have the confidence and support to be able to manage your condition so that you can make the most out of life. People with a long-term condition who really take ownership and control of their health, often have a much better quality of life. 

Self-caring for your long-term condition does not mean that you will be left on your own, you will still get lots of help and support from NHS services, including:

  • healthy lifestyle support
  • information
  • training
  • tools and equipment
  • support networks

One of the most important things you can do is lead a healthy lifestyle. This includes watching what you eat and drink and getting more exercise to improve your general wellbeing. 

Your personalised care plan 

If you have a long-term condition, you can have a care plan developed between you and your health professional to help you manage your day to day health. You can take part in writing your care plan, so that it keeps you in control and is based around what you want to achieve. If you think it is something that would help you manage your long term condition, talk to your GP, nurse or social worker about the support you might need.

Your personalised care plan will cover:

  • the goals you want to work towards, such as getting out of the house more or returning to work.
  • the support services you want.
  • emergency numbers
  • medicines
  • an eating plan
  • an exercise plan

Usually your care plan will be printed out for you to keep. If you don’t have a copy you can ask your health professional if a copy can be printed for you. Normally, your care plan will be reviewed once a year, but you can request for it to be reviewed earlier if you find that it is not working for you.  

More information about managing long term conditions with self-care is available on the NHS Choices website.

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