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How do people with long-term conditions benefit from using social networks?

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Cooper A (2013) Using social networks to help patients self-care. Nursing Times; 109: 10, 22-24.


5 key points

  1. Social media provide opportunities for some patients to forge supportive relationships with their peers
  2. Health professionals need a range of skills to work with patients in the digital environment
  3. Health professionals must respect the existence of remote peer relationships among people with long-term conditions
  4. Some patients may benefit from appropriate signposting to social networks
  5. More evidence is needed on the value of networks for patients



Let’s discuss…

  • Why is self-management important for people with long-term conditions?
  • Define the term peer support. Who can provide peer support for patients with diabetes?
  • How do people with long-term conditions benefit from using social networks?
  • The author of this article suggests social media create both opportunities and threats for patients and health professionals. Describe these opportunities and threats.
  • Should health professionals facilitate and signpost patients to social networks for peer support?
  • How would you define social exclusion? After reading this article do you think patients who do not engage with social networks are at risk of social exclusion?





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