Video: Living With Long Term Health Conditions

Posted on: 29 July 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

There are 15.4 million people in England with a long term health condition (LTC), which are those conditions that cannot, at present be cured, but can be controlled by medication and other therapies.

Long Term Conditions Background Information

What is a long term condition?

There are 15.4 million people in England with a long term health condition (LTC), which are those conditions that cannot, at present be cured, but can be controlled by medication and other therapies. Asthma, diabetes, arthritis, dementia and hypertension are examples of common long term health conditions.

Many people live with a condition that limits their ability to cope with day-to-day activities. Almost 1 in 3 people and 3 out of 5 people over 60 in the UK have a long term condition. Due to the aging population this number set to rise by 23% over the next 25 years.2

What is the NHS doing to help improve the lives of people with long term conditions?

The effective management of long term conditions is a government priority. The Department of Health is ensuring that patients with LTCs have more support to self care, through the ‘Your health, your way’ initiative. It encourages people to take a more active role in managing their condition to improve their overall health, wellbeing by raising awareness of the support they can expect from the NHS in terms of information, advice and support to them as well as training courses and support groups.

New ‘Your health, your way’ information leaflets will also be distributed, outlining where patients will be able to get help. Detailed information, including patient stories and tips for self care, is also available on the NHS website.

What are the consequences of long term conditions?

Having a long term health condition can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life, often resulting in simple daily activities being difficult or impossible to undertake. Some people live with more than one long term condition. These reduce independence and mobility, making patients increasingly reliant on health and social care services, as well as on their carers, families, friends and neighbours. It is estimated that 85% of deaths in the UK are due to chronic diseases.

How do people with long term conditions want to be helped?

Recent research by MORI3 has shown that only half (53%) of people with a LTC took an active role in taking care of their condition ‘all of the time’. It also identified that in the last six months over two thirds of patients had approached their GP, nurse or pharmacist seeking self care advice or information, suggesting that people want to take more control of their health.

What is self care?

Self care is looking after your own health and wellbeing, in order to stay fit and meet your social needs, prevent illness or accidents. People living with a long term condition can benefit enormously from being supported by a healthcare professional to self care. They can live longer, have less pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue, have a better quality of life and be more active and independent.

What is a personal care plan?

A personal care plan is an agreement between a patient and their health care professional. It records the decisions about the support and care needed, to help people get the best out of life. They encourage people to take an active part in their own day-to-day self management and should be reviewed regularly.

What are the aims of personal care plans?

Care plans increase understanding and awareness of self care and provide the right support, helping patients to take more control in health and care decisions. It helps to identify health needs and develop action plans for achieving those goals.

What are the benefits for patients?

  • Maximising the health of those with long term conditions
  • Better quality of life and avoiding premature death
  • Reducing burden on family and / or carer

Detailed information, including patient stories and tips for self care, is also available on the NHS website.


Asthma, diabetes, arthritis, dementia and hypertension are examples of common long term health conditions.

Many people live with a condition that limits their ability to cope with day-to-day activities. Almost 1 in 3 people and 3 out of 5 people over 60 in the UK have a long term condition. Due to the aging population this number set to rise by 23% over the next 25 years.

This video follows Antony who lives with a LTC. Whilst working in the Navy, he had various operations on varicose veins in his legs, which damaged the nerves and he was left with neuropathic pain in both his legs and hips.

It also explores what the NHS are doing to help improve the lives of people with long term conditions through the ‘Your health, your way’ initiative.

Detailed information, including patient stories and tips for self care, is also available on the NHS website.

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