Is self-care the new healthcare?

Health care providers are always available for your well-being, but self-awareness and care are crucial.

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve become a very valuable member of your health care provider’s team. They want YOU. But why? Generally speaking, it takes a team of people to supply quality health care. Health care providers already understand this.

In today’s complicated and ever changing view of the health care system one thing is clear, we need to understand how self-care (self-management) helps us achieve better health care.  Most all health care providers would agree that patients benefit from both a health care and self-care approach to quality care.

What is self-care?

  • Be your own expert Know your health numbers, your BMI (body mass index), family history and your health high-risks.
  • Ironically, it’s a team approach – It’s widening your care circle! Learn who is on your health care team. Social workers, therapist, dentists, home care nurses, dietitians and physician assistants are just a few of the health care professionals that can help you self-manage. 
  • It’s smart communication – Stay compliant with your health care team’s directives. Report back. It’s alright to tell them something did or did not work for you. 
  • Keep and maintain your health care appointments – Use your primary physician’s office instead of emergency rooms visits when possible.   It’s not doing it alone – Find support. Self-care isn’t a singular approach; it’s about boosting your care circle. For those living with chronic illness teaming up with your provider and all the support services they offer is one of the best ways to keep your illness managed.
  • Its lifestyle adaptations – Daily physical activity and implementing good nutrition.

Health care towards better self-care,

  • Health care systems use electronic health records and patient registries to find and follow-up with patients to automatically notify doctors of patient’s problems.
  • Health care providers are working more with registered dietitians, nurse educators and nurse case managers. All of whom work as liaisons between patients and physicians. The advantage is patients have more personal contact and follow up, especially with those at risk and those with chronic illnesses.

Chances are self-care and taking responsibility for overall good health may be a permanent concept in the future of health care.  Navigate best by using both a self-care and health care approach for optimum health!

Michigan State University Extension provides health and nutrition related workshops on becoming better self-managers. For more information on chronic illness and self-management visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/

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