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What is Patient Activation?

“It is now widely acknowledged that people who have the knowledge, confidence and skills to manage their own health tend to have better health outcomes than those who have a more passive approach. Patients with high levels of activation understand their role in the care process and feel capable of fulfilling that role.

Individuals with long term conditions, who are more highly activated, are more likely to engage in positive health behaviours and to manage their health conditions more effectively. On the other hand, people who have low levels of activation are less likely to play an active role in staying healthy. They are less good at seeking help when they need it, at following advice given by healthcare professionals and at managing their health when they are no longer being treated. Their lack of confidence and their experience of failing to manage their health often means that they may prefer not to think about it.

There is also growing evidence that, while individuals may have an underlying level of ability and inclination to be active in managing their own health, patient activation can be increased by offering support and providing opportunities to develop both condition specific and general health knowledge and skills. The key to self care is a new relationship that puts the needs of the individual first.”

Source: PAM implementation guick guide, NHS England, 4 April 2018, Gateway Ref: 07888

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