ISF Partner: Dr Austen El-Osta, Imperial College London University.

Programme: ISF has joined with Imperial College London University and the Self-Care Forum, to create the Self-Care Academic Research Unit (SCARU). This is the UK’s first academic group dedicated specifically to research into self-care.

The Mission of SCARU is to make the absolute case for self-care, by identifying and studying the ways in which individuals, communities, and existing health infrastructure can improve people’s self-care behaviours and overall wellbeing, addressing in particular extant opportunities and barriers to self-care in the contemporary setting.

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In the past there has been no universally accepted framework for self-care, one that adequately describes and links all the elements of self-care – people’s self-care activities and behaviours, the health system and the social context – the home, the community, the green and built environment. To address this, the Self-Care Academic Research Unit (SCARU) has brought all these factors together in a single holistic framework for self-care called the “Self-Care Matrix”.

The Self-Care Matrix provides a representation of the full extent of self-carers’ activities and of their attitudes and behaviour. The Self-Care Matrix recognises the impact on self-carers of a country’s social and health systems, as well as wider environmental and policy-based determinants of health. The Self-Care Matrix has been published and may be viewed here.



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