GP Dr Pete Smith, who is a Self Care Forum Board member, and Vice President of the National Association for Primary Care (NAPC) has developed a boxset for coughs and colds to be used in his surgery. Entitled “home care is best”, the boxset comprises a poster, a presentation on “antibiotics and respiratory tract infections” and a series of factsheets to inform patients of their symptoms, including red-flags and duration. In addition, the boxset has the NICE guidance for upper respiratory tract infections.
Talking about the initiative, Dr Smith said “This campaign was developed for our practice to deliver consistent messages to patients about some very common self-treatable illnesses. We don’t call them ‘minor’ as they don’t feel that way to the patient.”
Patients seem to have responded positively to the campaign, “the poster has had a great impact” commented Dr Smith “with some patients starting a consultation with “Looking at your poster, I probably didn’t need to come in. I had no idea these illnesses lasted so long. I’ll know next time”. Colleagues in the surgery also feel the exercise has been successful saying “it’s so powerful to have the real evidence to present to patients”.
Dr Smith is happy for others to use the boxset although asks that people use their good clinical judgement when doing so. Material is available from the self care forum website.
The Self Care Forum is dedicated to helping people take care of themselves. They do this by providing material and information for those working in the NHS, as well as patient and voluntary groups, in order to support patients and the public to self care. People often need to have confidence in their ability to look after their own health, and their family’s health. Building confidence in people through encouragement and support can reap health benefits, not only in that individual, but also in his/her family, having a domino effect that ripples throughout the generations. Self Care week this years runs from 18-24 November.