Managing Chronic Disesase

Chronic conditions are among the most prevalent and costly medical issues facing Americans.

What is a chronic disease? A chronic disease is defined as a disease lasting three or more months by the US National Center for Health Statistics. Common chronic conditions include heart disease, COPD, and diabetes.

Nearly half of all US adults have a chronic condition, and one in four have two or more. For those over 65, the numbers only grow. Eighty percent of seniors deal with at least one chronic condition while almost seventy percent are living with two or more.

Those suffering from chronic conditions are the most frequent users of health care, accounting for over eighty percent of hospital admissions and a third of health care spending in the country.

While chronic diseases generally cannot be cured, many can be prevented. Living a healthy lifestyle throughout one’s life is the best preventative measure. Key risk factors for chronic disease include tobacco use, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, and obesity.

While not all chronic diseases can be prevented, once diagnosed, there are many things you can do to improve your quality of life by effectively managing your condition.

Communication is key. About half of patients with chronic conditions see three or more different physicians. Many patients with chronic illnesses present at the emergency room or urgent care center when their symptoms become severe and are referred back to their primary care doctor or a specialist. Be an active member of your health care team. Make sure you not only discuss your condition and treatments with your primary doctor, but make sure all your clinicians are communicating with each other. If you are admitted to the hospital, be sure to have a plan in place to manage you condition before you are discharged.

Commit to managing your condition. Educate yourself on your diagnosis. Make changes to behaviors that are adversely affecting your health and contributing to your diseases progression. Discuss medication and treatment options. Learn about signs and symptoms that indicate the need for intervention. Being proactive when issues arise allows you and your doctor to make changes to your treatment plan before a crisis requires hospitalization. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Doing everything you can to manage your disease will not increase your quality of life today; it can lead to better health outcomes in the future.

Chronic Disease Management Programs

Managing chronic conditions properly not only leads to better health outcomes and lower spending, it also increases quality of life.

In order to help patients living with chronic conditions, many facilities, agencies, and organizations offer chronic disease management programs. The goal of these programs is to help people self-manage their illness, allowing for better health outcomes as well as reducing hospital admissions, re-admissions, and emergency room visits related to their diagnosis.

All Home Health United nurses, therapists, and social workers are trained in Chronic Disease Management and certified by the National Association of Home Care.

It is important for patients to understand why they are getting the treatments and how their own behavior affects their chronic disease. Home Health United’s chronic disease management training includes education on adult learning, health literacy, and behavior techniques, allowing clinicians to help patients better manage their conditions.

While providing skilled care for patients with chronic conditions Home Health United’s care team uses this training to educate patients on their conditions and treatment(s), help patients set their own health goals, and increase patients’ confidence in self-management of their condition.

Home Health United offers Informational Visits to anyone interested in learning more about how our services can help. Request an Informational Visit online or call 800-924-2273.