The Self Care Library is a not-for-profit online patient resource providing free evidence based information about health care. In particular the Self Care Library focuses on self-care treatment options for chronic conditions, as well as providing information for general self care and looking after one’s own health and wellbeing.
The Self-Care Library is a way of giving patients the reliable information they need to look after some common everyday health problems. It is uniquely wide-ranging, evidence-based and up to date, and also user-friendly.
The information provided throughout The Self Care Library website including the SelfCare Pathway, is intended solely for information purposes only and is not a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by an appropriate health care professional.
The Self Care Library is a non-commercial resource and we do not accept or host any form of advertisement.
Our Mission Statement
The Self Care Library is a not-for-profit information provider, which aims to offer free of charge evidence based information about chronic and long-term health conditions and the treatment options available. The intended audience is the general public, including people living with a long-term health condition, people who are caring for someone with a long-term health condition and those generally interested in self-care approaches for wellbeing. The site is also intended for use by health care professionals and students of self-care approaches and available treatments.
Our team is made up of an Editorial Board who research, write and edit the material you see on the site, and an Advisory Board who lend their expertise to the reviewing and ongoing development of the Self Care Library and its content.
Editor-in-Chief and Principal Author
Professor David Peters, MB ChB DRCOG DMSMed MFHom FLCOM
David trained as a family doctor, and later in osteopathic medicine and as a musculoskeletal physician. From 1990 until 2005 he directed the complementary therapies development programme at Marylebone Health Centre (MHC), a Central London NHS GP unit set up in 1986 to develop new approaches to inner city primary healthcare.
David is one of the founding faculty of the University of Westminster’s School of Integrated Health, which merged with the Department of Bioscience in 2009 to form the School of Life Sciences where he is now Professor of Integrated Healthcare and Clinical Director. He has co-authored or edited five books about integrated healthcare and led on a series of research projects concerned with implementing or evaluating complementary medicine in mainstream settings. One current project is developing PCT-wide access to acupuncture and stress reduction for people with long-term low back pain. Until 2010 David was Chair of the British Holistic Medical Association – an open association of practitioners working to develop holistic healthcare (bhma.org) – whose Journal of Holistic Healthcare he now edits. He is a director of the recently formed College of Medicine whose aim is to encourage more patient-centred and values-based approaches in healthcare.
David's clinical work as a musculo-skeletal physician has been greatly enriched by osteopathy and acupuncture, and by somatically-oriented psychotherapeutic methods devised by Peter Levine, as well as by his own exploration of working with the relaxation response, yoga and meditation. A particular clinical interest is in the various dysregulatory syndromes where pain and/or fatigue often overlap, and the breathing pattern disorders frequently associated with them. David’s R&D interests include the role of non-pharmaceutical treatments in mainstream medicine, and self-care – particularly in long term conditions - an area of research for which he has been funded to create and deliver evidence-based information.
Dr Karen Pilkington BPharm (Hons), MSc Information Science, MSc Educational Research, PhD, MRPharmS.
Karen is a senior researcher at the University of Westminster. She is a qualified pharmacist who initially worked in the UK National Health Service as a specialist clinical pharmacist. During this time, she studied for a master’s degree in information science and researched the information needs of health professionals. She also established an information centre on the use of medicines in children. In her next role, Karen was involved in developing clinical guidelines, assessing new drugs and helping health professionals to develop skills required for implementing evidence-based practice.
In 2003, Karen moved to the University of Westminster to manage a 4-year Department of Health funded project reviewing the evidence on complementary therapies in a range of conditions. Her current research focuses on self-care in chronic health problems, research methods and effectiveness and safety of complementary therapies. Karen is currently involved in several international information projects and previously worked with NHS Evidence. She teaches physiology, pharmacology, and various research methods at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the university and elsewhere.
Oona Hawley, BA (Hons) English, PGDip (Human Ecology)
Oona worked has worked in the field of patient-led care for over 10 years. She was Director of Patient Services for a palliative healthcare company in North London between 2001-2007, and managed multi-disciplinary teams for long-term care and palliative patients. She has written and edited a number of patient and carer guides and articles in the fields of home-based care, end-of-life care and self-care.
Since 2007 Oona has worked as a patient communications advisor and co-author and editor for a variety of healthcare charities, online-based patient focused projects and health and nutritional therapy companies including Six Parts Water, The Transforming Depression Project, Health is Happiness and Rated by Patients. Other organisations she has written and edited for are the UN and the BBC.
Senior Teaching Fellow, Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry, former Special Advisor to the House of Lords Committee on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, author of reference texts in herbal medicine.
Helen has a nursing background and during the last 25 years has specialised in the field of integrative health care. She has a BSc in Nutritional Medicine, an MA In Complementary Health Studies and holds qualifications in counselling, massage and reflexology. She has also taught mind-body therapies for over 20 years. Helen worked at Penny Brohn Cancer Care (formerly the Bristol Cancer Help Centre) as Director of Therapy (2000-5) and Head of Information and Research (2005-8).
During her time at Penny Brohn she revised and updated the Centre’s book, “The Bristol Approach to Living with Cancer”, won a national charity award for the evaluation system she implemented and was elected the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) representative on the CAM-Cancer project (www.cam-cancer.org)- funded by the European Commission. She also presented to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Inquiry into Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Helen works freelance as an ‘Integrative and Nutritional Health Advisor.’
Dr Elizabeth Thompson, MBBS BA(Oxon) MRCP (UK) MFHom FFHom DM
Elizabeth Thompson is a Consultant Homeopathic Physician and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Palliative Medicine. She is an NHS consultant and Lead Clinician for an outpatient service from the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital with a team of seven doctors. She runs the Integrative Cancer Care Service and was awarded her DM thesis from Oxford University in 2009, the first homeopathic thesis to sit in the Bodleian library describing the use of homeopathy for the cancer patient. She is a Fellow of the Faculty of Homeopathy and was made Vice President of the Faculty of Homeopathy in February 2011. She is the Academic Director for a seven-year academic teaching programme. Her research interests have included cancer, child health and outcome measures that reflect health gain. Special clinical interests: Integrative Cancer Care.
Pat spent 23 years as a NHS medical research secretary working for sixteen years for an innovative and internationally recognised senior diabetologist. Until her retirement from the NHS in 2007, she continued to work in an editorial secretarial work for Diabetic Medicine (Blackwell Science, Oxford). She was awarded a Diploma in Politics, Economics & Sociology from University of Nottingham, and developed a strong personal interest in provision of health care following the long illness (and eventual death) of one of her children. This led to her joining the Patient & Carer Network of the Royal College of Physicians, where for 4.5 years she represented families on two specialty committees – Palliative Medicine, and Integrated Health. From April 2010 to September 2011 she was a member of the Patients’ Council of the College of Medicine.
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