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Supporting self-management

This guide is part of the NHS England-funded Realising the Value programme led by Nesta and the Health Foundation, which seeks to develop person- and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing. The programme is doing so by building the evidence base and developing tools, resources and networks to support the spread and impact of these approaches.


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The evidence for the benefits of promoting a person- and community-centred approach in health and wellbeing settings is strengthening. Yet spreading improvement and change within health and social care organisations is notoriously challenging. Behavioural science offers some reasons for why this is the case:

  • People tend to be confronted with much more information than they are willing or able to process.
  • People seek to minimise effort and are disproportionately affected by small barriers to change.
  • People typically stick with the way things are – the status quo.
  • People tend to interpret facts using mental ‘shortcuts’ (rules of thumb or assumptions) that confirm our existing views.

This guide is for people who support those living with long-term conditions, their carers, families or communities. It summarises practical ways to support people to self-manage effectively using person- and community-centred approaches. Many of these activities are useful also for people who work to prevent the development of long-term conditions in the first place.

Date Published

September 7, 2016