We want to hear from you if you’ve living with a long term health condition

November 24th, 2017 by

Are you living with heart disease, cancer, diabetes or a respiratory condition, or do you work with people who do? The Wellbeing and Public Health team at Cornwall Council are working with partners across the health, social care and voluntary sector to better understand how to support people to self-manage their health conditions.

On average, people living with a health condition spend just 3 hours per year with their health care team; the rest of the time they are managing day to day life with that condition or their own – or self-managing. Over three-quarters of respondents (77%) from a national survey of over 2,500 people with long-term conditions thought that more of their ongoing health problems could and should be managed independently at home. In Cornwall, 68% of people in Cornwall feel supported to manage their long term condition, better than the national average.

“Self-management includes all the actions taken by people to recognise, treat and manage health and wellbeing independently of or in partnership with the healthcare system” said Rachel Wigglesworth, Consultant in Public Health. “We want to better understand what options people in Cornwall are using at the moment, and what they find most useful.”

Dr Alison Flanagan, GP and Clinical Lead for Long Term Conditions at Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’re asking about a number of different types of support that people might use to self-manage. For example, do you use apps or devices to monitor your condition or would you like to? Have you taken steps to lead a healthier lifestyle? Do you go to a self-help group for people with the same condition? As more and more of us are living with long term conditions, it is vital that people feel as supported and confident as possible.”

Ann Bennett lives near Falmouth. She lives with a serious condition called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (a progressive lung condition) and also cares for her husband who has COPD. She said “Living with a long term condition is part of your life’s journey and only you are living with it. Supported by health professionals, it’s important to be actively involved in taking responsibility for managing and maintaining your own health.

“Signposting to support groups and exercise sessions should be readily available so that patients can take responsibility. Being proactive, we accessed groups such as Breathe Falmouth and British Lung Foundation resources (which are readily available), having researched these for ourselves. By doing this and using social media support of Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis and Pulmonary Fibrosis UK on Facebook, we have great social, psychological and physical benefits from them. I’d urge anyone eligible to take part and have your say.”

Take part to help us understand and improve services by completing the online survey. Printed copies are available on request. The survey will be open until 12 noon on 12 January 2018.

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Safer Cornwall are a working partnership involving: