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Healthcare expert offers tips for managing chronic illness in the home

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
home healthcare, chronic conditions, nursing care, BrightStat Care

These days, patients with a chronic illness are discharged from the hospital in frail condition and are in need of ongoing care. Most homes do not contain an individual with training in caring for these conditions; thus, family members are often overwhelmed by the sudden need to provide care. Whether it’s for conditions like heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or pneumonia, BrightStar Care Vice President of Quality and Clinical Operations, Sharon Roth Maguire, MS, RN, GNP-BC, offers these tips to help manage concerns and needs surrounding caring for a loved one at home.

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“We know how challenging and overwhelming it can be to take care of someone living with a chronic illness, whether it’s a family member, partner, or friend,” notes Maguire. She adds, “By creating a strong support system, staying organized, and communicating effectively, some of the everyday stress can be reduced.” She offers the following tips:

  • Become knowledgeable: Learn as much as possible about the illness. Brush up with online research, ask questions when at doctor appointments, and stay informed on symptoms or signs of concern.
  • Get organized: With various medicines, doctor appointments, and scheduling items, there are many different components to manage. Utilize an online tool, like CareTogether.com, to help caregivers and family members stay organized. CareTogether allows everyone involved in the care process to access calendar appointments, health updates, and medicine scheduling for the individual. In addition, CareTogether has condition-specific resources available to further assist caregivers for specific conditions including heart failure, COPD, and pneumonia.
  • Communicate: It’s important for everyone involved in the care process to communicate their needs, emotions and even frustrations effectively. Although it may be difficult to talk openly, it can greatly relieve stress.
  • Hire a nurse: Healthcare staffing organizations can greatly reduce stress related to caring for a loved one. Homecare agencies can provide the full continuum of medical and non-medical care at home to reduce the need to make outside appointments or trips to the doctor. Use a homecare agency that requires RN oversight on every case and is accredited by the Joint Commission to ensure the best, certified care.

About BrightStar Care:
Founded in 2002 as a family business, BrightStar Care® provides the full continuum of homecare and childcare, including adult and elder care, newborn care, babysitter, and nanny services. BrightStar delivers skilled person-centered care to clients one-on-one in their home or wherever and whenever they need care through its more than 250 independently owned and operated locations nationwide. The Gurnee, Illinois, based company also offers medical staffing services for individuals, families, healthcare facilities, and anywhere healthcare staff is needed. For further information regarding BrightStar Care, click on this link.