More often than not, patients with chronic conditions put a lot of work into their own health and do a lot of their own research because it is not always easy for them to get the treatment that they need. While dealing with a patient with a chronic condition can be difficult for everybody involved, there are various things that these patients would like to see from their primary caregivers.
Here’s what patients with chronic conditions want from their doctor and other healthcare professionals.
Offer a Chronic Care Management System
Patients with chronic health conditions will often require regular, long-term care, and a chronic care management system can make this situation easier on everybody. A chronic care management company like ChartSpan allows staff to continue providing in-house healthcare to patients while providing chronic patients with access to a wide range of resources to better manage their condition, including support for achieving healthcare goals, assistance with prescription medication refills, assistance finding home care if needed, help with mobility issues and transport, assistance accessing tests, x-rays and labs, a comprehensive individual care plan, and support for the patient’s family and loved ones.
Do Further Research
Many chronic care patients are often frustrated with healthcare professionals who are not well-researched on rare conditions and diseases. Many would feel more trusting of their healthcare professional if they knew that they were conducting further research into their condition. Patients want their doctors to listen with an open mind and realize that not everybody is going to have textbook symptoms.
Offer Longer Appointments
When a patient is dealing with complex, chronic health issues that may take some time to understand, a 10-15-minute appointment slot is not always enough. Sometimes, patients might have a lot to say about the symptoms that they are experiencing, and trying to fit it all into a smaller timeframe can often be quite pressuring for the patient. Offering the option to book longer time slots for chronic care patients can make it easier for healthcare professionals to understand what they are dealing with.
Often, patients with a chronic condition are in pain a lot of the time and are not always sure when they should call the doctor or head to the ER. Doctors and other healthcare professionals can help everybody in the situation by being more specific when asking questions about the condition, and also providing patients with more specific guidelines for when they should seek additional medical attention for their condition.
Be Upfront and Honest
Research finds that the majority of chronic care patients would prefer doctors and other healthcare professionals to be honest and upfront with them about any given situation. They understand that doctors are often under a lot of pressure themselves and may not always be able to commit as much time as they would like to their chronically ill patients. Being honest and upfront about your own limitations as a healthcare professional and working together with your patients to provide alternatives such as booking longer appointments for in the future or referring to a specialist who understands the symptoms better than you do is something that the majority of your patients will appreciate.
Provide Options for Pain Relief
Living with a chronic condition can be difficult for patients whose pain levels may often go well beyond the typical pain charts. Patients appreciate doctors who understand that they have to live their lives in pain even if they are able to continue living a life that is as normal as possible and is as active as they can be. Patients with chronic conditions appreciate healthcare professionals who address pain levels at each visit and provide different options for pain relief, as it’s not uncommon for patients to change their minds about what is needed.
Consider Other Conditions
A survey of patients living with chronic health conditions found that one of the most annoying things for patients is when healthcare professionals assume that every symptom that they are experiencing is from the illness that they have been diagnosed with. Bear in mind that something else could be going wrong and keep an open mind with a patient who is telling you about any new symptoms that they might be experiencing.
As a healthcare professional you will know that in many cases, it is difficult to provide a cure or treatment plan for patients with chronic illnesses that works well, particularly in the case of rare diseases or conditions that there are not many medication options for. Research conducted with patients suffering from chronic conditions found that one of the main things that they want from their primary caregivers is a sympathetic ear. It can make a lot of difference for patients to hear that you understand what they are going through and that facing it every day isn’t easy.
Find an Effective Treatment Plan
Finally, another main annoyance for patients suffering from chronic conditions is that many healthcare professionals will simply prescribe medications within the first few minutes of the appointments. But some chronic illness patients have reported that the side effects of many medications provided can make things worse. Be upfront about side effects when prescribing medications and give patients the option to choose the medication that they prefer wherever possible. Understand the concerns and worries of patients with chronic conditions and help them put together a treatment plan that works well for them.
Chronic illnesses are difficult to live with, and doctors may not always be able to diagnose, prescribe treatment, and offer the right type of support needed. If you are a healthcare professional, there are several things that you can do to help your chronically ill patients feel more supported and listened to, even if diagnosis and treatment are not immediately available to them.