As medical professionals, the goal, more often than not, is to cure, but what happens when that’s not possible? For many of your patients, a cure will never be possible, and it is your job to help them manage their chronic condition so that they can still lead as full a life as possible.
It Needs to be a Partnership
It might take a lot of time to find the key to managing a patient’s symptoms, and it’s a case of continuing to work hard to get the best results. However, there’s got to be buy-in from the patient themselves, and they’re going to play an important part in helping to find the right solutions.
Both sides have to buy into this partnership; otherwise, you’re not going to get the best results.
Your Job is to Educate
As the clinician, one of your main jobs in the partnership is to educate. There are many ways of managing chronic conditions, but ultimately, much of the responsibility for following your guidance falls on the patient.
Sometimes, effectively managing a chronic condition means making big lifestyle changes, and not every patient is willing to make those changes. You can’t force people to follow your advice, but you can make sure they understand their options in the clearest possible terms.
Work with Outside Professionals
No matter how committed you are to your patients, you can’t be available to them 24/7. Some patients with chronic conditions will need help with many day-to-day tasks, and they can get the help they need from a chronic care management service.
A chronic care management service can help coordinate a healthcare plan between practitioners and their patients, helping patients achieve their health goals.
The right care service will give patients 24-hour telephone access to a nurse, helping with prescription pickups, transport to and from doctor’s appointments, and the other day-to-day help that patients need.
Respect the Patient’s Autonomy
The patient is the one who has to live with the condition, and ultimately, it’s up to them as to how they go about doing it.
Even when you have educated patients on how to manage their condition, you might find they decide they aren’t willing to make the lifestyle changes you have suggested. You don’t have to agree with their decision, but you do have to respect the patient’s autonomy and their right to make their own decisions.
Compassion is an important part of treating any patient, but it’s vitally important in forming a strong relationship with patients with chronic conditions.
These patients are having to come to terms with the fact that they will be suffering from this illness for the rest of their lives, and this can be a difficult process. As a practitioner, your compassion can help patients come to terms with their new reality in the best possible way.