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CHF Study Report: Activating Patients to Better Health

A Consumers Health Forum study has found that Australians with chronic conditions and complex needs are less activated than their healthier counterparts, which may contribute to poorer health outcomes.

Patient activation refers to “self-management… a patient’s knowledge, skill and confidence to take on the role of managing their health and healthcare (Hibbard et al, 2005). Patient activation is recognised internationally as a means of achieving desirable patient outcomes as well as resource efficiency in the health sector (Hibbard and Gilburt, 2014; NHS, undated).” (CHF 2019).

Occupational therapists play a key role in supporting patient activation, and have long recognised the health benefits of activation. Through the application of evidence-based, person-centred interventions that support a person’s functional capacity, occupational therapists assist people at all stages of their lives to engage in the activities that are necessary, important and meaningful for the person. Engagement in these activities fosters a person’s health and wellbeing, and supports preventative health management.

The CHF study results indicate measures that support personalised care and foster the capacity of people to be activated in their own health care should be given paramount consideration in health care planning for the future.

The Consumer Health Forum have recommended that these measures should include “shared decision-making practices, tools, resources and education to support shared-decision making, evidence-based self-management services, workforce development in the form of practice-based health coaches and service coordinators and a social prescribing scheme” (CHF 2019).

OTA members are encouraged to view the full report here.

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