PLANSforyourhealth goes live

PLANS_results_laptop_reducedPeople with long term health conditions are being encouraged to make plans for their health via a unique new website developed by researchers as part of a self care support programme for the people with long terms conditions research theme.

The website is the first of its kind and is designed to help people suffering from long term conditions assess their health and social needs. Visitors to the site will be asked to complete a short questionnaire about their particular condition, interests and level of social activity. Based on the answers, the site will then produce a personalised list of local activities including exercise, diet groups, social and hobby groups which would support their particular health and social needs.

Dr Christian Blickem, Research Associate and project lead said: “We are pleased that the PLANS for your health website has been so positively received. Studies have shown that many people with long term health problems do not necessarily benefit as much from information or courses designed to support them with their condition. However, we do know that encouraging them to take part in other things such as keeping active and being involved in social activities can be more enjoyable and can have more of a positive impact on their health.

“The questionnaire has been specifically designed to identify the individual’s social needs. After completing it, users will be given a list and description of suitable activities within their local area. If they choose to create a profile on the site, their preferences will be saved and they will be able to refer back to this, possibly with their health worker, and use it to make plans to improve their health.”

Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease in Greater Manchester who have been part of a clinical trial (BRIGHT Trial) run by the CLAHRC have already been using as part of a self-management care package.

Now it is hoped that patients in Salford who have diabetes will also be able to benefit from the website through a pilot service offered by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust’s Diabetes Care Call team. Care Call are a team of diabetes health advisors who provide telephone education and support to people with type 2 diabetes; helping them make lifestyle changes such as increased activity and make healthier food choices etc. to help with weight management and improve diabetes control.

Care Call will be using the web based initiative to help patients identify suitable social activity and community groups, to encourage them to be more active. Katherine Grady, Care Call manager said, “We are really looking forward to piloting the website with patients. The questionnaire is very simple to complete and quickly enables us to provide relevant and up to date information about local groups to our patients’.

Dr Blickem added: “One of the main advantages for health workers is they can ask their patients about their level of participation in social groups and easily direct them to something which is very likely to be of benefit and suitable for the patient.”

“We have also shared with GP surgeries and other service providers in Salford who are planning to use the site to help their patients to be active and healthy.”

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