Using information to help people self-manage

Here are some resources about equity created by Health Literacy NZ and Health Navigator NZ as part of the self-management support project. 

Providing people with information about their condition, treatment and self care options is a crucial element of delivering self-management support.

The range of information needs will vary widely from person to person, as will the range of skills and strategies required to communicate that information.

Types of information include:

  • Information about health condition

  • How to change lifestyle behaviours

  • Skills training to boost confidence, deal with setbacks and problem solving

  • How to access tools and equipment to make life easier

  • Finding support and building a support network

  • What self-management and rehabilitation groups and services are available

  • ‘Signposting’ to other organisations such as WINZ, Housing etc.

Why is information important to support self-management?

Information on its own is not enough to change a person’s behaviour, quality of life or clinical outcomes, however, better understanding of a long-term condition can positively affect a person’s ability to manage symptoms and long-term health.

People will differ in their information needs. A person’s preferred method of being informed needs to be established early in the discussion.

Some things you can do/ask

  • Find out their preferred mode of receiving information; internet based, paper based, via phone app etc.

  • Where they are on their ‘health information journey’. What do they know already, clarify what is no longer relevant, where are the gaps?

  • How will they use the information, who will they share it with, does it need to be pictorial or a chart that can be placed in a prominent place at home.

Tools and Resources, you can use


Health Navigator New Zealand website: The Health Navigator website is a source of reliable unbiased information and resources, relevant and free to all New Zealanders.

Ask good questions: Developing your own set of questions that you feel comfortable using in different situations will help you become a more confident communicator. Examples of questions that you can use in different SMS situations can be found here.

Use Ask-Build-Check: Become competent in using the Ask-build-check model. You can find more information about it here. You will also find a training module here.

Tips for using resources: People are often given a lot of written resources and/or recommended to use an app or go online. Discussing materials with people before they go home means they are more likely to read and use them. Tips on using written and other resources can be accessed here.

Recommended resources for common conditions: With so much information available, it can be hard to make time to go through it all and find unbiased accurate information resources. You can find a list of recommended resources for common long term conditions here.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • YouTube - White Circle
About Self-Management Support NZ

This website is designed for health providers who are interested in self-management, care planning, health literacy and working in partnership with their clients, patients and families.

If you have suggestions of new resources or general feedback, please contact

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SMS NZ © 2019 by Health Navigator NZ & Health Literacy NZ.