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Using information to help people self-manage

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

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

Types of information include:

  • information about their health condition

  • how to change lifestyle behaviours

  • skills training to boost confidence, deal with setbacks and solve problems

  • how to access tools and equipment to make life easier

  • how to find support and build a support network

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

  • signposting to other organisations such as WINZ, Housing NZ, 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, but better understanding of a long-term condition can positively affect a person’s ability to manage symptoms and long-term health.


People 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 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, what is no longer relevant, where are the gaps?

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


Tools and Resources you can use


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

Health Navigator website.png

Ask good questions: Develop your own set of questions that you feel comfortable using in different situations. Ideas for questions you can use in different SMS situations can be found in this resource.

Use Ask-Build-Check: Become competent in using the Ask-Build-Check model. You can find more information about it here and 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 resources. You can find a list of recommended resources for common long-term conditions here.

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