Friday, September 22, 2006


Mary Chimato of posted today about a new handout from the American College of Emergency Physicians to aid patients in making decisions regarding how to decide when a symptom etc is severe or serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room.

The American Academy of Family Physicians also has a self-care decision making tool on their site, with simple decision trees organized by key presenting symptom.

The medical literature includes an increasing volume of discussion about how to improve individuals' health and utilization of health care resources through self-care or self-management strategies (a few key Medical Subject Headings below), covering a wide variety of disease-focused and wellness- focused strategies and representing all age groups.

Some examples:
- Bodenheimer T. Planned visits to help patients self-manage chronic conditions. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Oct 15;72(8):1454, 1456.
- Sarkar U, Fisher L, Schillinger D. Is self-efficacy associated with diabetes self-management across race/ethnicity and health literacy? Diabetes Care. 2006 Apr;29(4):823-9.
- Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Erro J, Miglioretti DL, Deyo RA. Comparing yoga, exercise, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2005 Dec 20;143(12):849-56.
- Herxheimer A. Helping patients take responsibility for their own health. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Jul 3;135(1):51-2.

MeSH terms: consumer participation, self care, patient participation

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At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Patricia Donovan said...

You're organizations need to get this information out to their populations before an emergency occurs. Case in point: ironically, while planning my organization's audio conference on reducing non-urgent emergency room use, I learned that my own daughter had been in a minor auto accident. I had to decide whether to take her to the ER that night or wait to see our primary care physician the following day. I feel I made the right call, but the next day posted guidelines for potential ER clients.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger BeckyJ said...

Thanks, Patricia - your story gives a great context for remembering how difficult it can be to figure out if something is "serious" enough to warrant a trip to the ED - your suggested steps look like they could really help guide that decision-making process, despite the accompanying anxiety/worry/etc.


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