The nine policy proposals presented in the Blueprint are a suite of separate initiatives that will address one or more of the barriers and gaps that currently inhibit the potential for self-care.
National health literacy strategy
Develop a national health literacy strategy aimed at improving health literacy and self-care capability for all
Investment in strategies that build individual and population health literacy capacity is critical for disease prevention and management and improved population health, as well as for health protection during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
A national health literacy strategy would contribute to the prevention and more effective management of infectious and chronic diseases, and improved health status for all.
The national health strategy should:
Identify and target
Build system capacity
through the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards and accreditation processes and by:
- establishing health literacy competencies and embedding them into professional education and continuing professional development and workforce accreditation standards;
- implementing organisational self-assessment of health literacy practices, capabilities and responsiveness for health service providers, including their understanding of health literacy needs within their catchment populations;
- developing concise, valid and reliable measures for health literacy to be used in periodic population surveys and as a practical screening instrument for tailored interventions; and
- investing in medical and health research to identify and address health literacy needs in disadvantaged communities and at-risk population groups, particularly culturally and linguistically diverse communities, using place-based approaches that engage communities in their implementation.
Self-care core competencies
Invest in the development of cross-disciplinary self-care core competencies for all relevant health professionals and other care workers, engaging with consumer representative organisations, healthcare providers, health workforce peak bodies and professional colleges in a collaborative process
Health workforce self-care competencies should include:
- understanding their role and responsibilities in supporting self-care for disease prevention, treatment of minor ailments and self-management of chronic conditions;
- understanding and demonstrating skills in collaborative, multidisciplinary and ongoing team-based care with an explicit focus on shared decision-making;
- relevant health literacy competencies and skills;
- communication skills that engage and motivate consumers; and
- skills to assess and identify individual self-care capability across a diverse range of healthcare consumers and to tailor interventions accordingly.
National health & consumer engagement framework
Invest in the development and implementation of a comprehensive national health and consumer engagement framework
Consumer engagement framework
The national model consumer engagement framework should aim to provide and enable systematic monitoring of:
- practices and processes for sharing decisions and planning care between consumers and treating health professionals, including communication and training for healthcare professionals; and
- the engagement of consumers as partners in the design and monitoring of policies, service planning and delivery and evaluation.
Framework uptake and use
Digital health information and resource library
Establish a national digital health information and resource library and national quality assurance framework to assess the quality and credibility of web-based health resources and mobile health apps
Build on existing work
Self-care support assessment tools
Develop and implement validated self-care and self-care support assessment tools, evaluation measures and reporting mechanisms
Without validated, generic measures and tools to comprehensively assess self-care by individuals, or to evaluate the provision of self-care support for consumers by healthcare providers, self-care activity cannot be identified as an outcome measure of health care within the health system.