Self-Care Community

YouLab: Researching Yourself

By Ruthann Russo | July 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

YouLab is a skill that acknowledges you as the research scientist of your own life.  As with any experiment, you are looking for a cause and effect relationship. For example, what happens when I don’t eat sugar for a day? When I opt for the stairs instead of the elevator for a week?   It’s all about adding, subtracting, or changing something in your life and noticing how your entire self (body, mind, and emotions) responds. You might want to start with some small changes, such as drinking more water for a few days.   The key is making a…

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6 Evidence-Based Practices for 8 Common Chronic Conditions

By Ruthann Russo | July 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

According to the CDC 90% of healthcare dollars are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.  The eight most common chronic conditions linked to high employer spending are depression, increased blood glucose, high blood pressure, obesity, tobacco use, physical inactivity, anxiety, and chronic pain. Self-care, practices individuals take to maintain or improve their health and well-being, when practiced consistent with the evidence, is a key strategy for chronic illness management.  Evidence-based self-care practices are an essential component of a Sustainable Self-Care Initiative (SSCI).  For health systems, structured self-care practices are inexpensive to implement, can decrease costs of care over…

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Population Health: Managing Populations vs. Populations Managing Themselves

By Ruthann Russo | July 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

In a recent interview, the CEO of a large health system described population health as having, “an interest in you as a person and in being responsible for your health…”   While a noble feat, what if health systems instead (or additionally) created partnerships aimed at empowering community members to manage themselves?  This partnership, called a sustainable self-care initiative (SSCI) provides training, technology, and tools to help participants live their best possible lives.  It could work, especially if the health system’s leaders were to embrace the tools, practice the skills, and openly model a healthy way of life.   SSCIs already…

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Group Treatments: A Viable Solution for Health Systems?

By Ruthann Russo | July 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

Chronic conditions are responsible for 86% of healthcare costs in the United States. Stress is at the root of most chronic disease. And, self-care practices, such as meditation, yoga, acupressure, guided imagery, and qi gong can be used to manage both stress and chronic conditions. The problem? These interventions are not covered by health insurance. Group treatments may be a solution.  Although group treatments are not covered by insurance, they provide a clinically effective and economically affordable methodology to help patients manage chronic conditions. In addition, group interventions increase patient satisfaction, engagement, and social connection.  They also improve symptom management…

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Chronic Pain is MORE Than the Pain 

By Ruthann Russo | July 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

The annual cost of chronic pain is as high as $635 billion a year, which is more than the yearly costs for cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  In 2014,  Integrative Medicine Journal published an article I wrote about options for treating chronic pain that complement conventional treatment.  The research supports interventions such as biofeedback, guided imagery, hypnosis or even mindfulness for the management of chronic pain.   Part of the reason these self-care skills, or “mind-body” practices can work so well for chronic pain is because chronic pain is MORE than the physical sensation of pain.  Melzack & Casey explain…

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What is self-care?

By Ruthann Russo | July 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

You know how at the moment we become a parent we think to ourselves, no one ever taught me how to do this, no one ever taught me how to be a parent? We’re just supposed to “know” how to be a parent.  The same is true for self-care, it’s something that is assumed to be innate in all of us.  But the truth is, in this information and sensory overloaded world, self-care – the care of our WHOLE selves – is often overlooked. Caring for ourselves as a whole person is key to preserving our health and optimizing our well-being. …

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What is Value-Based SELF-Care?

By Ruthann Russo | July 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

The concept of self-care can sometimes feel illusive or just so basic that it hardly seems appropriate to use self-care and the current US healthcare crisis and drive for value-based care in the same sentence.  The bottom line? Self-care is the foundation for all care. The cause and effect of a Sustainable Self-Care Initiative If health systems are willing to take on the challenge – to teach evidence-based self-care skills to their communities – will it improve health and well-being and decrease healthcare costs. The result?  Increased value of “health” care to the consumer along with increased consumer responsibility for…

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What Is The Role Of Self-Care In Value Based Care?

By Ruthann Russo | June 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

I recently had a conversation with a value-based care executive. After he rejected the idea that self-care is an essential component of any value-based care initiative, I responded, “But, given the value of self-care tools and measures, preserving health and optimizing well-being could be the glue that holds a value-based care strategy together.” His response? “I agree. Prevention begins with us, but the healthcare industry has many operational challenges to address in the near term which are drawing attention away from self-care.” According to The New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst, value-based healthcare is a “healthcare delivery model in which…

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The Three S’s of Self-Care for Health Systems and Their Leaders.

By Ruthann Russo | June 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Preserving health and optimizing wellbeing is essential to the future of healthcare and humanity. Self-care practiced System-wide, that is Sustainable and Scalable achieves this goal. Health systems are evolving to include partnerships and networks that promote well-being. The universal need for self-care is shared by leaders, employees, patients, and practitioners alike. Neglecting self-care results in increased healthcare costs, chronic conditions, cost of lost productivity, and the personal cost of unrealized potential. Leaders and health systems that treat self-care as an essential component of healthcare will undoubtedly shape the future of the industry. To be successful, a self-care initiative needs a…

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Why isn’t Spirituality a Source of Health?

By Ruthann Russo | June 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

During my self-care training programs, I am often asked, “Why isn’t spirituality a Source of Health (SOH)?” My answer? Given the all-encompassing nature of spirituality, it didn’t seem correct to pigeonhole it as just another source of health. A colleague of mine, Luann Fortune, and I identified that participants in the self-care trainings we conducted were able to verbalize how spirituality related to ALL of their 7 sources of health. As you read these examples, please keep in mind that what is true for one of us, will not be true for all of us. So, please feel free to…

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