Long-term conditions and healthy living

Long-term conditions are health conditions that generally last for a year or longer and may impact upon a person’s everyday life. Examples include asthma, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, mental health problems, multiple sclerosis and skin conditions.

Whittington Health is committed to supporting people living with long-term conditions and putting them in the driving seat when it comes to managing their condition. We use the terms ‘self care’ and ‘self management’ to describe some of things that you can do to take control of your long-term condition.

Self care

Self care means looking after yourself in a healthy way. Living a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, whether or not they have a long-term condition.

If you do have a long-term condition there are extra things you may need to consider, such as making changes to your diet, different types of exercise or different types of medication you may need to take.
It can also mean finding ways to continue with normal life and doing the things that are important to you such as seeing friends and family, going on holiday, gardening, or continuing to work if possible. You may need to consider whether doing them differently may work better for you. When you have a long-term condition your plans for the future may have to change and you may need to find ways to deal with changing emotions.

Self care doesn’t mean you get less help from your doctor - the healthcare team is still there to support you.

Self management

Living with a long-term illness can be challenging and we want to make sure you have the knowledge, skills and confidence to take control of your condition. Self management involves looking at what you want to do and thinking about how you can do it.

We offer a range of programmes to support you to manage your long-term condition yourself. These range from our 'sing for your lungs' vocal group for people with respiratory conditions, to the 'expert patient programme' for any adult living in Islington who has one or more long-term health condition.

These programmes can cover:
  • Managing symptoms e.g. pain and tiredness
  • Coping with stress, anxiety and depression
  • Working in partnership with family, friends and healthcare professionals
  • Healthy lifestyle advice
  • Eating well
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Goal setting and problem solving
  • Planning for appointments with your doctor or other healthcare worker
By taking part in a programme you’re offered the support to develop knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to meet the demands of living with a long-term health condition. It's also an opportunity to meet other people facing similar situations in a friendly environment to share experiences and ideas.

At the end of a programme, most people feel much more positive about living with their condition and are more confident about getting on with life afterwards. They also go on to teach others by sharing their experiences.

Further information for patients
Use the links to the left to find out more about all of the support available.

Healthy living

There are lots of tools and resources to help you become confident about coping with your health, including a range of services across Islington and Haringey that address issues including smoking, alcohol and drugs, mental health and weight management.
Haringey services:
Drug and alcohol
Mental health
Islington services:
You can also find lots of useful advice online to help you look after yourself in a healthy way:
NHS Choices - self care
Page last updated: 11 Sep 2014
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