Advances in medical sciences have tremendously improved life expectancy. Between 2000-2016, approximately 5.5 years were added to the average global life expectancy.
Even though it differs significantly by the region, human beings live a lot longer than they did almost three decades ago. Naturally, in their later years, people need value-added, high-quality medical care.
Many seniors develop chronic conditions that continue to be the primary cause of mortality. Some of the most common chronic diseases in older adults include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney and heart disease, among others.
Therefore, this blog post sheds light on various factors concerning chronic disease management in the elderly.
Educating Patients and Caregivers
Physicians often underestimate the importance of educating patients. However, education is imperative for many reasons. At first, patients and caregivers will have to devote their time and efforts to understanding the chronic ailment.
When the patient knows enough to manage their condition well, it saves time in the long run. Greater awareness not only enhances patients’ wellbeing but also improves treatment adherence.
In other words, increased knowledge allows seniors to make better decisions regarding their health, which is indeed the goal of chronic disease management in the elderly.
Encouraging Open Communication
Every patient is different, and so are their needs and tendencies. While some may feel comfortable asking any kind of question with their doctor or care specialist, others may not. Therefore, it falls upon the care provider to encourage open communication.
It’s not always that the patient doesn’t have any question; chances are they are just hesitant to talk about it. Providing information through multiple channels such as audio, videos, drawings, and fact sheets become essential.
Apart from that, physicians and care specialists may suggest some support groups and websites to the patient and their family.
Improving Lifestyle Habits
Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking and drinking can have adverse effects on the patient’s treatment. Continued reinforcement for lifestyle changes holds great significance in chronic disease management in the elderly.
For instance, a patient living with heart disease and diabetes adheres to medication as well as appointments with care practitioners but cannot give up smoking. Such a situation can lead to emphysema – a condition that damages the alveoli of the lungs.
For this reason, the care provider also works on changing the patient’s lifestyle habits so that there are no side effects.
Increasing Patient’s Independence
Chronic diseases such as COPD, hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes can put a dent in the patient’s independence. Besides physical limitations, low motivation level hampers the seniors’ ability to perform their day-to-day chores with ease.
For this reason, chronic disease management in the elderly aims to empower them so that they manage their own care. In chronic care management, patients are very much an active part of the process.
If the seniors get better at self-care, they can significantly reduce the care costs as well. Besides consulting your care specialists, you can find valuable resources related to elderly chronic care on the National Council on Aging website.
Taking Patient-Centric Approach
When care providers adopt a patient-centric approach while creating the care plan, it increases the patient’s responsiveness. At AdvantagePlusNurses, the care specialists take patients’ unique requirements, values, and preferences into account.
Moreover, the patient-centric approach allows healthcare providers to understand why an individual may not be responding to the treatment as per expectations.
Mitigating the Risks
The complexity associated with chronic disease management in the elderly necessitates the patient-centric approach – especially when the patient is suffering from multiple chronic conditions.
For instance, certain medications meant for lowering the blood pressure could lead to falls. This is why seniors require tailored treatment regimens that account for all potential risks and ways to mitigate them.
Both caregivers and patients are central to the decision-making process at AdvantagePlusNurses. Instead of assuming a treatment plan, we discuss all the available options with the patient before devising a final, mutually-agreed comprehensive care plan.
The prevalence of chronic diseases in the aging population poses a serious challenge to the country’s healthcare system. Care management company like AdvantagePlusNurses can ease the burden while playing a pivotal role in enhancing the patients’ quality of life.
Chronic disease management in the elderly is about taking a proactive approach by educating the patients, increasing their independence, encouraging open communication, changing lifestyle habits, and making them part of the decision-making process.