For many patients in care homes, a chronic illness can have a huge impact on their lives. It influences their daily routine and impacts the types of choices they make throughout the day. Getting the right type of care for those with any form of chronic illness must be a top priority for care homes around the country.
Chronic illness management is required to help those living with long-term health conditions have a better quality of life. For care homes, this means ensuring patients with chronic illnesses get the support and care they require.
If chronic illnesses aren’t managed effectively, budgets, resources and time, can be wasted, and patients can feel let down by the care they are receiving. However, if managed well, those with chronic illnesses can feel empowered through health care that understands their unique circumstances and prevents further health complications down the line.
A big proportion of the care home population will have some type of chronic illness. As a definition, it relates to those who are living with a certain long-term health condition, which describes a noticeable proportion of elderly people in care homes. This means care homes should look to create clear processes to ensure they are doing all they can to support those living with a chronic illness.
So, how can care homes effectively manage chronic illnesses?
Supporting Patient Management
The first step to helping patients live with chronic illnesses is helping to support their own personal management of this. If patients can manage their own illness, this is a great place to start. Patients are given the tools and plans to keep their condition under control, helping ensure their condition doesn’t worsen and they avoid experiencing further complications.
A great example of this is Diabetes II. If patients are supported in relation to managing their blood sugar levels, they are more likely to avoid serious complications that they might be susceptible too if managed poorly. The management of such a condition will play a huge impact in the quality of life that patient is able to live. In this example, focusing on the diet and exercise throughout the day, may mean a patient requires less medication, or at the very least, avoids putting their blood sugar into dangerous levels.
A Person-Centred Care approach is the best way to ensure each patient is supported in a way that works for them. Some patients will simply need reminding to take medication, while others may need more interaction and engagement. Some chronic illnesses may need nursing staff to physically help them in/out of bed, or help support them during activities.
Having care that empowers patients and offers the level of support required, means patients get the type of care they need. Utilising care home software and digital care records means those working in care homes can easily record and communicate the management of each patient’s daily routine and chronic illness. This means the care for each patient is seamless from day to day. This data can also help illustrate patterns and potential issues that may be arising. This leads to proactive decision making to help ensure the patient’s wellbeing is at the forefront of any decision.
Patients with chronic illnesses may end up having care records that become vast and complex, but by having a clear system and digital record of this, means care homes can extract the information they need regarding that patient with ease.
Effective support patient management also means it eliminates unnecessary visits to specialist health professionals. This makes a huge difference into the type of care available as it focused on a preventative management, instead of a treatment.
If we use our Diabetes II example again, by keeping a health record and daily routine of patients, a carer may spot that their involvement in activities has slowly decreased over the month and this may mean their chronic illness isn’t being managed as effectively as before. As a result, the carer can be proactive in ensuring the condition is being managed effectively going forward.
Chronic Illness Management & Care Coordination
Some chronic illnesses will get worse, even if the patient has followed their personal management care plan. In this instance, it is about ensuring the patient has access to all the relevant resources to getting better.
A vital role for care homes, is being able to effective communicate patient records to other health professionals and organisations. Chronic illnesses can often be hard to treat due to the complexities of these illnesses in conjunction with other health problems/circumstances. This means care homes need to be able to send vital patient data to specialists and other health professionals as and when it is required. This illustrates the importance of adopting comprehensive patient records in care homes that offer practical ways of sharing and using the data.
The ability for care homes to work effectively with the other health professionals is a defining factor in how the patient can recover from complications and issues arising from their chronic illness. Transparency and quick access to records means health professionals across organisational boundaries can work collaboratively to help support patient care. Having care plans that are quickly adaptable if new recommendations and care is required, means care homes can offer continual support that isn’t disruptive to patients.
Chronic Illnesses and CareDocs
Here at CareDocs, we are driven to help care homes become more effective in their delivery of care and patient support, through innovative care home software. Our software solutions are designed to make the lives of those working in care homes easier, and make it easier for them to make the difference they want to.
The management of chronic illnesses is just one example of how CareDocs can help add value to your care home. Care planning is at the heart of CareDocs and as well as providing a quick and easy way to carry out comprehensive assessments, you’ll be able to produce fully personalised care plans in a matter of minutes.
For information about our care home software, get in touch today.