Self management can be described as a set of approaches which aim to enable people living with long term conditions to manage their own health and have more control over their health and their care (Scottish Government). Effective self management is key to supporting and improving outcomes for those with long term conditions and positive health literacy is a core component of this while low health literacy can affect such things like a person’s ability to participate in shared decision making (RCGP, 2014).

Good information is an important element of supporting self management, people require good information that is relevant to them and they need to be supported to understand and implement it. To support you in providing good information try using the techniques and resources available within the Techniques section. These can be linked to self management as follows:

  • Teach back – We are asking people be the leading partner in the management of their health and be responsible for their own care. Use Teach back to make sure that you have explained things in a way that you are comfortable with and that your patient will be supported to self manage
  • Use pictures – draw or show pictures to help convey a complex concept or body part. for example, to show an injection site
  • Use simple language – use language that is easy for the person in front of you to understand and avoid jargon and medical terminology that the person may be unfamiliar with
  • Assume nothing and always offer support to people, for example when filling in forms. This is called taking universal precautions
  • Chunk and check – break down the information that you need to discuss into smaller chunks then check for understanding as you go.