Managing chronic illness at home

Chronic illness and the effects of chronic diseases are now the leading health concern in Australia with recent studies by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) attributing 89% of deaths in 2021 to the 10 most common chronic diseases.

The terrifying statistics don’t end there either, its estimated that over 11 million Australians live with at least one chronic disease and just of 50% of people aged 65 and over living with at least two chronic diseases. With chronic disease already accounting for 52% of hospital admissions and a growing, aging population ongoing care and effective management starts at home.

Fortunately changes to lifestyle factors can prevent or reduce the severity and long term impact of many conditions. With the right healthcare professionals and medical support and the proper treatment plan in place self management of chronic conditions is entirely possible.

This article looks at the 10 leading chronic diseases.

What is a chronic condition?

Chronic diseases are long lasting conditions with persistent if not constant symptoms. AIHW identifies 10 major chronic condition groups: arthritisasthmaback paincancercardiovascular diseasechronic obstructive pulmonary diseasediabeteschronic kidney diseasemental health conditions and osteoporosis.

These chronic conditions are the most common, pose significant health problems, have been the focus of ongoing significant medical research, in many instances, action can be taken to prevent their occurrence. Most of these diseases are caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, insufficient physical activity or smoking while others such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Type 1 Diabetes are genetic.

Prevention is better than cure

Various targeted programs aimed at specific chronic diseases are instrumental in promoting prevention, early detection, and management. In Australia, initiatives such as quit smoking programs, diabetes prevention programs, and cardiac rehabilitation programs provide structured support and education to individuals with chronic conditions.

These programs often incorporate lifestyle modifications, education on self-management strategies, and access to allied health professionals and services to improve immediate and long term health outcomes and resulting in a better quality of life and reduction in the prevalence of chronic disease symptoms.

By combining clinical expertise with targeted programs, healthcare providers can empower individuals to take control of their health, mitigate disease progression, and enhance overall health and well-being in the face of chronic illnesses.

Clinical Intervention and Targeted Programs

Clinical intervention and targeted programs play a crucial role in managing chronic diseases effectively in Australia. These interventions are tailored to address specific conditions and individual needs, aiming to optimize health outcomes and quality of life.

Clinical interventions may include medication management, regular health assessments, and specialized treatments administered by healthcare professionals. Targeted programs, such as chronic disease management plans (CDMPs) and structured education programs, provide comprehensive support and guidance for individuals living with chronic illnesses.

These programs often involve interdisciplinary teams comprising doctors, nurses, dietitians, and physiotherapists, working collaboratively to develop personalized care plans. By focusing on prevention, early detection, and holistic management approaches, clinical interventions and targeted programs help individuals navigate the complexities of chronic disease, empowering them to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Self-managing chronic diseases

Managing chronic illness at home in Australia requires a multifaceted approach that addresses medical, lifestyle, and emotional needs. By leveraging the resources available within the healthcare system and embracing technological advancements, individuals can take proactive steps towards achieving optimal health outcomes.

Empowerment, education, and a strong support network are essential components of effective chronic illness management. With a personalized care plan, lifestyle modifications, and access to supportive services, individuals can navigate the complexities of their conditions with confidence and resilience, ensuring a better quality of life despite the challenges they may face in everyday life.

Accessing Healthcare Services

Navigating Australia’s healthcare system can be complex, particularly for individuals with chronic illnesses requiring ongoing care. Establishing a good rapport with healthcare providers and specialists, scheduling regular check-ups, and staying informed about available services and support programs are essential steps in managing chronic illness effectively.

Additionally, utilizing telehealth services, which have become increasingly accessible in Australia, can provide convenient access to further medical treatment, consultations and support.

What can I do to help manage my condition?

Managing Medications

Adherence to medication regimens is critical for managing chronic illness and preventing complications. In Australia, pharmacists play a vital role in medication management, offering advice on dosage, potential side effects, and drug interactions. Utilizing medication management tools, such as pill organizers and medication reminder apps, can help individuals stay organized and compliant with their treatment plans.

Establishing a Routine

Maintaining a structured daily routine is key to managing chronic illness effectively. This includes adhering to medication schedules, dietary restrictions, and exercise routines as prescribed by healthcare professionals. In Australia, healthcare providers often emphasize the importance of a healthy diet and regular physical activity tailored to individual capabilities, promoting overall well-being and symptom management.

Prioritizing Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Living with a chronic illness can take a toll on mental and emotional health. It’s essential for individuals to prioritize self-care and seek support when needed. Psychologists, counselors, and support groups offer valuable resources for coping with the psychological challenges associated with managing chronic conditions and illness.

Mental health services are integrated into our healthcare system, ensuring accessibility for individuals as and when its needed. Most health services either have counsellors available or can easily connect you with counselling services through Community Health Teams. Telecounseling and online mental health platforms have also gained popularity, providing convenient avenues for seeking support from the comfort of home.

Building a Support Network

Support from family, friends, and peers can make a significant difference in managing chronic illness effectively. Open communication and mutual understanding foster a supportive environment where individuals feel empowered to navigate their chronic health conditions and challenges.

In Australia, organizations like Chronic Illness Alliance and Arthritis Australia offer advocacy, education, and other support group services for individuals living with chronic conditions. Peer support groups provide opportunities for sharing experiences, practical advice, and emotional support, creating a sense of camaraderie among those facing similar health struggles.

The Role Of Home Care In Chronic Disease Management

Home care plays a pivotal role in the comprehensive management of chronic diseases, providing vital support and assistance to individuals in their own living environment.

Monitoring and Early Intervention:

Regular visits and observations of signs, symptoms, and medication adherence is essential for early detection of complications in chronic diseases. Home care providers play a crucial role in monitoring these parameters, enabling timely intervention and preventing exacerbations or hospitalizations.

Assistance with Activities of Daily Living

Chronic diseases can be debilitating and impact an individuals’ ability to perform basic daily living tasks alone. Home care services provide assistance with tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and mobility support, helping individuals maintain their independence and dignity at home.

Medication Management

Adherence to medication regimens is critical for managing chronic diseases effectively. Home care providers assist with medication management, ensuring medications are taken as prescribed, monitoring for side effects, and facilitating communication between patients and healthcare professionals regarding any concerns or adjustments needed.

Education and Empowerment

Providers educate patients and their families about disease management strategies, healthy lifestyle modifications, and warning signs of complications, enabling them to make informed decisions and take an active role in their health.

Psychosocial Support

Home care providers offer psychosocial support, addressing feelings of isolation, anxiety, or depression, and connecting individuals with community resources or support groups to foster social connections and emotional resilience.

Coordination of Care:

Home care providers serve as liaisons between patients, families, and healthcare professionals, facilitating seamless coordination of care across multiple providers and settings. They ensure continuity of care, communicate treatment plans and updates, and advocate for the patient’s needs within the healthcare system.

Contact out team at Nursed Care.

We offer cohesive medical, nursing and home care support, including private nursing services. Our fully qualified registered nurses have undergone a thorough recruitment and training process. Our nursing team includes nurses from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, but they all have one thing in common, ensuring the best quality of life for all our clients.

Need qualified care?

At Nursed, we offer a full range of care and disability support services, assisting you to live the life you want to live. Contact us today.

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