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Wise Health Care Consumer Month (February)

February is Wise Health Care Consumer Month. The goal is to help consumers receive the right care at the right time in the right place. It involves teaching consumers how to become more active in their own healthcare. This entails knowing which symptoms require professional assistance and which can be treated at home with self-care. It also focuses on helping consumers like you understand how to interact most effectively with the healthcare system to receive proper care.

According to the National Wellness Institute, approximately 25 percent of all doctor visits and 55 percent of all emergency room visits are deemed to be unnecessary. Since the average doctor visit in the US costs $60 and the average emergency room visit is $383, a great deal of money is being spent unnecessarily; practicing self-care can reduce the amount of unnecessary visits to the doctor and save you money.

Medical self-care is defined as behaviors that a person engages in to prevent, diagnose, and treat a medical problem. This usually involves decisions regarding everyday health problems and it also encompasses promoting good health habits and safety as a way of preventing illness and injury.

One set of skills for medical self-care include living a healthy lifestyle by engaging in proper nutrition, weight control, stress management, physical fitness, blood pressure control, tobacco cessation, and moderate use of alcohol. Another important set of skills involves knowing what common health tests and immunizations you should have for your age, race, and gender. Medical self-care means making better decisions about what symptoms require medical attention and those that can be treated at home.

This month take some time to educate yourself about medical self-care and begin your path to becoming a Wise Heath Care Consumer.

Community Wellness, of Augusta Health, also offers Chronic Disease Self-Management and Diabetes Self-Management classes that assist in promoting self-care as discussed above. Classes are ongoing, so contact us if you have interest.

Article provided by Stephanie Monger, Intern from James Madison University working with Community Outreach.