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How can self-management and patient education bring empowerment?

11 April 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 7

The phrases ‘self-management’ and ‘patient education’ may conjure an image of an elderly person with a long-term condition. However, this is only part of the picture, because the whole story is more complex. NHS England (NHSE) (2018) suggests that 26 million people live with a long-term condition, a figure that rose from 15 million in 2012 (Department of Health (DH), 2012); 15% of those affected are aged 11-15 years.

These are compelling figures when we consider that the prevalence of chronic oedema/lymphoedema increases with age and that it falls within the definition of long-term conditions. Moffatt and Pinnington (2012) suggested that chronic oedema/lymphoedema affects about 4 in 1000 of the general population, 12 in 1000 of those aged over 65 years, and up to 29 per 1000 of those aged over 85 years).

Extrapolating across the age profile of England produces an estimated incidence of chronic lymphoedema in 177 559 of those aged under 65 (0.38% of the age group), 97 356 of those aged over 65 (1%) and 39 647 of those aged over 85 (3.5%) (Office for National Statistics, 2019). These estimates could mean that in England alone up to 314 562 people are affected by chronic oedema/lymphoedema. The figures focus attention not only on identifying the condition, but on how those affected can be supported in managing their condition.

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