Chronic illness affects every aspect of a person's life – physical and emotional well being, ability to work, and relationships. Research clearly shows the more involved a person is in his or her own care, the better the results.
- Actively participating in your health care
- You are the Manager of your own health
- You are in charge
- You are Running your own show!
Why is self-management important?
Research in this area shows that good self-management:
- May slow disease progression
- Other co-conditions may be prevented or treated earlier
- Better quality of life and/or sense of well-being
Self-Management will help you be more in control of your treatment, enable you to take better care of yourself, and stay well for as long as possible. Self Management is achievable for patients living with End Stage Renal Disease. Your interdisciplinary team can share information and tools with you to assist you in developing Self Management skills. At the Kidney Care Centre, the first of four sessions in our Education program focuses on Self Management Skills. Please ask your Social Worker or Nurse for more information on attending the sessions, or refer to the Further Support section of this website.
How to be a self-manager of your healthcare?
- Get information on what it was that caused your kidneys to become damaged. If you don’t know, ask your Nephrologist or Nurse Practitioner. Sometimes, when patients participate in managing their health, further kidney damage can be avoided or progression delayed.
- Keep a journal of doctors’ visits and outcomes of consultations. Many patients with end stage renal disease are seen by more than one doctor. It can be challenging to recall information given to you by different doctors and health care providers.
- Make the most of your appointments. How may times have you
gone to see a doctor with a list of questions in your head to ask, and
not remembered them until you were in the car, on the way home?
Please refer to our handout entitled, ‘Making the most of your
Bring a family member or close friend to your appointment – someone else to remember or record what was shared at the appointment.
- Take advantage of the interdisciplinary team that is available to you at your dialysis unit. The Dietitian, Social Worker, Pharmacist and Nursing staff has information on a wide variety of topics, including healthy food choices, coping strategies, medication management and other self management skills. Each of these team members can work with you on a one-to-one basis.
- Keep a journal at home of how you are feeling. Sometimes it is hard to remember how you were feeling 3 months ago compared to now. Recording signs and symptoms of kidney disease, blood pressure readings, blood sugar readings and foods you enjoy will help your kidney care team understand how you are doing on dialysis and help the team help you with your self management strategies.
- Keep an accurate list of your medications. It is important that your kidney doctor be kept up to date of medications that are being prescribed for you. Feel comfortable in asking your doctor or nurse practitioner; “Why am I taking this?”.
Being actively involved in your own health care goes hand in hand with decision making.
You might be considering making a change in some area of your life, anything from diet or exercise to your mood. To read more about stages of change and decision making please refer to our ‘Decision Support’ section.