Embracing Self-Care for life

Self-care week, Conference September 2017 Imperial College London

Our very own Mike Oliver, who is championing work on health literacy in Stoke-on-Trent, presented at this year's conference:

I attended the 19th Annual Self Care Conference: “Self Care for Life” organised by the Self Care Forum on 26thSeptember. The Self Care Forum define Self Care as: “The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.”

Clearly there a strong links with health literacy. I really like the concept of the Self Care Continuum (see picture below) as it recognises that the day to day choices we make (with the support of others) when we are lucky to be relatively healthy are as applicable to self care as those actions we need to take when we are living with long-term conditions.

I think that Health Literacy underpins the whole Self Care Continuum. The information we receive and try to act on from health and wellbeing providers is vital in lifestyle choices as it is in living with long-term conditions or when we are receiving care in hospital .

The presentation I gave at the conference was to share a project we are establishing in Stoke-on-Trent to help organisations become “Health Literacy Friendly”. This aims to help organisations change the way they interact with their service users, patients or customers – from the physical layout when they arrive, the signage, written communication (posters, leaflets, forms, online information), the way employees or volunteers interact with the public and the policies that underpin the way the organisations operate.

In a very collaborative way, we will be helping organisations become more health literacy friendly through this scheme with has a framework of bronze, silver and gold awards.

If anyone wants to find out more about becoming a Health Literacy Friendly organisation, they can contact me at mike.oliver@stoke.gov.uk.