Department of Health launches ‘Looking After Me’ – an initiative to support carers with health problems to look after themselves

| May 4, 2012 | 0 Comments
Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK

Following the success of the ‘Live Well, Stay Well’ scheme – which helps people with long term conditions to manage their health more effectively – the Department of Health is launching an additional course called ‘Looking After Me’, aimed at ensuring that carers who also have long term conditions look after themselves.

The course, which is due to start in the summer, has been designed to address the specific needs of people with long term conditions who find themselves caring for others. The course recognises that carers often have their own health conditions, which can be neglected. ‘Looking After Me’ hopes to redress this balance, and provide carers with the skills and tools to help ensure their health needs are catered for.

Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK, said: “Carers, whether they be full time, part time, young or older, often find themselves too busy looking after their relatives or friends to look after themselves fully. The needs of carers have traditionally been catered for less well, although much more work has been done in recent years. Helping people to effectively manage long term conditions is a lynchpin of the Island’s Health Strategy; and this latest development ensures that we don’t overlook those who find themselves caring for others, whilst also having a long term condition themselves – for example someone with arthritis caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease. Many carers are selfless, and this is about ensuring that a balance is struck, helping carers to help themselves.”

‘Looking After Me’ aims to provide a unique service, following the same philosophies and background as the Department’s highly successful ‘Live Well, Stay Well’ scheme. The course itself will be very similar but with a different emphasis. Course leaders, who are fully trained and licensed to run the sessions, have received additional training from UK experts in order to run ‘Looking After Me’.

‘Live Well, Stay Well’ continues to show excellent results. The last five courses, which ran between April 2010 and November 2011 showed that six months after attending the course, 77% of participants had improved their skills in positive thinking, 90% felt better able to problem solve, and 81% felt they were able to communicate better with others around them. This clearly shows that people completing ‘Live Well, Stay Well’ courses learn skills which help them cope long term with their health conditions. In addition, 100% of attendees felt more positive, six months after completing the course, about living with a long term health condition, 90% felt better about how they dealt with fears over the future, and 85% felt less frustrated and more able to participate in social and leisure activities.

Three new volunteer course leaders have also recently completed their training, giving ‘Live Well, Stay Well’ more scope for expansion.

Jenny Brown, Project Manager for Live Well, Stay Well, said: “We are very excited to be able to expand ‘Live Well, Stay Well’ to cater for other groups of people. The statistics so far clearly show that attending the course makes a real and lasting difference to how people with long term health conditions cope and live their lives. We are aiming to build on our success so far, and help more people to manage their health needs more positively.”

‘Looking After Me’ starts on 18th June 2012. Places are available on a first come first served basis. For more information, to book a place or express interest, please contact ‘Live Well, Stay Well’ on 486641 or e-mail livewell-staywell@gov.im.

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