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.
Field of Research
111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified 1117 Public Health And Health Services 1605 Policy And Administration 1110 Nursing
Socio Economic Objective
920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
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