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The expert patient: a new approach to chronic disease management for the 21st century

  • Document type:
    Publication
  • Author:
    Department of Health
  • Published date:
    14 September 2001
  • Primary audience:
    Professionals
  • Product number:
    25216
  • Gateway reference:
    2001
  • Pages:
    38
  • Copyright holder:
    Crown Copyright

An observation often made by doctors, nurses and other health professionals who undertake long-term follow-up and care of people with particular chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus, arthritis or epilepsy is 'my patient understands their disease better than I do.' This knowledge and experience held by the patient has for too long been an untapped resource. Research and practical experience in North America and Britain are showing that today's patients with chronic diseases need not be mere recipients of care. They can become key decision-makers in the treatment process. By ensuring that knowledge of their condition is developed to a point where they are empowered to take some responsibility for its management and work in partnership with their health and social care providers, patients can be given greater control over their lives. Self-management programmes can be specifically designed to reduce the severity of symptoms and improve confidence, resourcefulness and self-efficacy.

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