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Type: Journal article
Title: Sisyphus and self-management: the chronic condition self-management paradox
Author: Harvey, P.
Docherty, B.
Citation: Australian Health Review, 2007; 31(2):184-192
Publisher: Australian Healthcare Association
Issue Date: 2007
ISSN: 0156-5788
Statement of
Peter W Harvey and Barbara M Docherty
Abstract: Chronic condition self-management is promoted internationally as not only a possible solution to the health problems of our increasingly chronically ill and ageing population, but as part of a new wave of consumer-led and volunteer-managed health care initiatives. Consumers are now indicating that they want to be more involved in the management of their lives and their health care options, while, especially in rural and smaller communities in Australia, a shortage of clinicians means that health care is rapidly changing. This emphasis on self-management raises crucial questions about where consumer action and control in health care should end and where clinical and medical intervention might begin. Hence, as in the case of Sisyphus and his rock, the self-management process is a difficult and demanding one that poses major challenges and loads for health system reformers and represents a struggle in which new difficulties are constantly emerging. This paper examines some implications of new self-management approaches to chronic illness from an ideological perspective and highlights key elements that underpin the effort to promote health-related lifestyle change. While peer-led self-management programs may assist certain individuals to live engaged and meaningful lives, the essential social and economic determinants of health and wellbeing mean that these programs are not the answer to our urgent need for major reform in the health care arena. Rather, self-management, from an ideological perspective, represents a minor adjustment to the fabric of our health system.
Keywords: Humans; Chronic Disease; Self Care; Mythology; Health Services for the Aged; National Health Programs; Australia
Description: Copyright © 2007 Australian Health Review
RMID: 0020074352
DOI: 10.1071/AH070184
Appears in Collections:Rural Clinical School publications

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