When medical professionals provide information to their patients to help them practice “self-care,”
individuals generally feel better and are more confident about managing their healthcare needs, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Such steps that healthcare professionals can take to promote self-care include planning preventive medical assistance, giving patients easily understood information and staying in touch by phone, text or emails to remind them of their care plan. Making referrals to community programs that may have fitness classes or clinics to help people quit smoking is another recommendation by AHRQ.
With increasing frequency, self-care planning is provided through patient-centered “medical homes,” which are health teams that draw together all healthcare providers working with a particular individual. Along with the patient’s primary care doctor, they may include specialists, social workers, therapists and nurse practitioners.
The medical team may also include a dietitian if someone needs to lose weight or maintain a particular diet for an allergy or health problem such as diabetes. They may recommend dietary supplements for additional nutrition.
For example, health problems sometimes place people under added stress as they cope with their daily needs. A dietary aid such as Vital B-Plus from Dr. Newton’s Naturals helps reduce stress with a combination of eight B vitamins and a blend of antioxidants that support the nervous system.
The AHRQ, which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports that medical home teams make healthcare more accessible to people, which is one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act.
About 5,200 doctors’ practices nationwide have been recognized for meeting the standards of a medical home program. An estimated 4 million people who have Blue Cross Blue Shield as their insurance provider are also taking part in medical home initiatives in 39 states.