A New Approach for Chronic Disease Care Management: Let the Patient Take Control
- By: Scott Vanderhoef
Regarding chronic diseases, older adults are the experts, hands down, with as many as three out of four older persons affected by several conditions that are chronic, call for extensive medical attention, and place limits on activities. With the constant barrage of bloodwork as well as other medical tests, doctors’ appointments and procedures, and medications, chronic disease care management often takes both a physical and emotional toll, and can quickly become stressful.
Dr. Mary Tinetti, chief of geriatrics and internist at Yale School of Medicine, details, “Once you get three, four, or five and six diseases, several things happen: Number one, almost guaranteed, trying to get one of these diseases under control is going to make one of the other diseases worse. Number two: The more we ask people to do, the more overwhelmed they get and the less they are likely to do.”
For these reasons, Dr. Tinetti has created the Patient Priorities Care approach, with the objective to decrease the stress of treatment by empowering patients to communicate their personal medical care goals – identifying what matters most to them. A plan of care is then created to successfully achieve those goals. For instance, one person’s goal may be to boost quality of life during the short-term, while someone else may seek to increase longevity of life. It also takes into account activities a senior loved one enjoys and exactly how to find a way for her or him to continue to take part in them.
The Patient Priorities Care method builds upon the Minimally Disruptive Medicine strategy established ten years ago, which also aims to ease the burden of chronic condition treatment, but which did not include the key component of incorporating insight from patients to understand what means the most to them.
Ultimately, what many seniors determine is that they prefer to cut down on “unwanted care,” which they feel requires significantly more effort than the benefit they are going to receive, such as diagnostic tests and treatments. To that end, older adults and their families can take advantage of these beneficial resources to get more effective, self-directed care, such as a conversation guide, summary of health goals, and more.
At Heaven at Home Senior Care, we are completely dedicated to understanding what is most essential to the seniors in our care, and to providing the amount of care that can help them to thrive and achieve their goals. It’s why our care is extremely personalized, and always starts with learning as much as possible about each individual and what his or her goals encompass – and then developing a plan of care that can help accomplish those goals. Reach out to us at 866-381-0500 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about our home care options.