Self-care is action deliberately engaged in by men, women, and older children. It is activity learned through interpersonal relations and communications. Self-care is practical endeavor and as such is concerned with bringing about events and conditions that do not exist at the time when self-care actions are initiated. Actions produce events in time. When a specific action is completed what remains is the effect or result it produced. When specific actions are performed in sets and sequences to bring about events and results related to the production of some desired goal(s) reference is made to an action system. In this context self-care systems of individuals can be conceptualized.
The terms self-care measures or self-care practices have reference to all the sets of actions required in order for a specific self-care requisite to be met. For example, all the specific actions that must be performed in ordered relationships, one to another, to maintain fluid intake at a certain quantitative level, or the actions that must be performed to prevent the supplemental oxygen being provided to a person from being a hazard to the person's life and health, are self-care practices.
This paper was originally presented at the Wesley Hospital Conference, “Hospitals in the Commu-
nity—A Vision,” in Brisbane, Australia, June 3–5, 1987.