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To mark Self Care Week 2015 (16 to 22 November) Wye Valley NHS Trust, Herefordshire Council, and a local mum, are helping to raise awareness about how you can Self Care for Life.
Living well and being healthy will help us to do that. This means practicing Self Care for Life which most of us already do on a daily basis. Choosing to eat healthily, get the flu vaccination, keep warm during winter, and self-treat common ailments, are all positive self care actions.
It’s particularly important that people with long term health conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, depression, and heart disease, look after their health and wellbeing all year round.
One local service that gives people, with long term illness or health conditions, more independence to enjoy a better quality of life is the Expert Patients Programme, run by Wye Valley NHS Trust.
51 year old mother of three Joanne Cole, from Ledbury, is one of the many people who have been helped by the programme. Joanne’s diagnosis last year of non-Hodgkin Follicular lymphoma, a type of cancer, turned her life upside down. She underwent months of chemotherapy treatment and along with the diagnosis of a long-term condition, Joanne began to feel very tired and depressed. She found out about the Expert Patients Programme and hasn’t looked back since.
Joanne said: “I was feeling low and overwhelmed, but I knew I couldn’t let my illness continue to take over my life.
“When I found out about the Expert Patients Programme I was not sure what to expect or whether it was for me. I was surprised how much information and practical support is available from the tutors and people who take part, who also have long-term health conditions.
“It’s made me realise that I can take control of my health condition rather than it controlling me and it’s given me confidence, by making small manageable changes. I’m much more aware of the importance of taking care of myself, as well as my family.
Joanne has been able to go back to work, visit the gym, and she has also started to help out as a tutor on the programme to help other people who have long-term health conditions.
Sue Tobey, Expert Patients Programme Co-ordinator at Wye Valley NHS Trust, added: “The programme aims to teach people new skills to manage their condition. It is a six week course, requiring attendance once a week, delivered by tutors who have been through the programme and who also live with on-going health conditions. It helps people learn how to manage their condition more positively and also prevents unnecessary visits to hospital or their GP”.
Self-care isn’t just learning about how we keep our bodies fit and healthy, but also how we treat minor illnesses and injuries.
Arif Mahmood, at Herefordshire Council, said: “One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm to help prevent colds and flu or deterioration of long term health conditions, eat well because food gives you energy and warmth, and get your flu jab.
“Keep your keep medicines cabinet stocked up to help you manage common ailments. Your local pharmacist is the best person to advise what to take for most minor conditions.
“If you are not getting better within a reasonable time frame visit your GP surgery, walk in centre in Hereford, or call NHS 111 for advice available 24 hours a day”.
To find out more about staying well this winter and to search for where to get advice near you visit
If you have a long-term illness or health condition and would like to find out more about the Expert Patients Programme call Sue Tobey on 01432 364463. For information about when the programme is taking place visit www.wyevalley.nhs.uk (community services).
Simple steps to Self Care for Life:
- Move more! You don’t even have to join a gym, just walk the dog, leave the car at home, ignore the bus, take the stairs, dance around the kitchen table, go for a walk!
- Stop smoking! One of the best things you can do for your health is to stop smoking. Ask your local pharmacist about stop smoking services.
- Sleep. A good night’s sleep is essential to good physical and mental health so don’t burn the candle at both ends, make sure you get at least 7 hours sleep a night!
- Eat well. It is vitally important that we get the nutrients we need and avoid excessive amounts of salt, fat and sugar. Information is available from the NHS Choices website or ask your pharmacist for advice on managing your weight.
- Relax. We have such busy lives that we sometimes forget to take time out to relax, but it is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. Find time in the day to be still and quieten your mind, holistic exercise such as yoga can also be helpful.
Left to right: Joanne Cole and Sue Tobey (Expert Patients Programme co-ordinator).
Note to editors:
- Wye Valley NHS Trust is the provider health services across Herefordshire and beyond. The Trust exists to improve the wellbeing, independence and health of the people we serve. We are the leading provider of health care in Herefordshire.
- By working closely with our partners, we can make good our promise to deliver a quality of care we would want for ourselves, our families and our friends.
- With an estimated annual turnover of around £160 million, we employ around 2,700 plus staff. We aim to build new relationships between our staff, patients, service users and their carers with the wider community.For further information please contact:
For further information please contact:
John Burnett, Communication and Engagement Manager, Wye Valley NHS Trust: 01432 372928 or Fiona Gurney, Communications Assistant 01432 355444 ext. 5105.