A good healthcare team can make a huge difference in your recovery and experience of the system. When you’re dealing with a chronic disease like diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc. you need to have a good team to make sure that you get all the treatment and advice that you may need. Dealing and living with a chronic disease can be very tough if you don’t have the right help and access to the necessary healthcare and medications.
So, to make sure that you have everything you need to successfully live with a chronic disease, you need to choose the right healthcare team for you. Follow these steps to help you achieve this.
Get the Initial Diagnosis
The first step is to make sure that you get the right diagnosis. If you think that something is wrong with your health, visit your physician for an initial diagnosis. He or she will then you refer you to the necessary specialists. Your physician will be an important part of your healthcare team. If your specialist is unavailable or you just need some basic healthcare and prescriptions, your physician will be the one to treat you. He or she must be aware of your condition and the severity and the medications that you are taking.
Find the Right Specialist
Your doctor will refer you to a specialist if needed. A specialist may be a neurologist, an oncologist, a cardiologist, etc. Each of these doctors specializes in a specific area and will treat your chronic disease with their specific knowledge. If you are not comfortable with your specialists, find another one. It is your right to find a specialist that you are comfortable with. Depending on the nature, severity, and complexity of your disease or illness, you may even need more than one type of specialist. It is important that you make sure your specialists are qualified and that you are comfortable with them.
Find the Right Therapists
With most chronic diseases, you will experience pain and discomfort. If you were in an accident and need to rehabilitate your movements and muscles, you need a physiotherapist. If you are recovering from a stroke or serious injury that caused loss of ability, you may need an occupational therapist. There are also therapists that specialize in pain management. You need to decide which therapists you may need and choose ones that you can trust and are qualified. You will spend a lot of time with these therapists and you need to make sure that you are comfortable with them and that they offer you what you need.
Decide if You Need a Stay-In Nurse
In some cases, you may need a stay-in nurse or caretaker. If no family or friends are available to help with your care or it is a full-time job that you need an assistant for, you need to consider hiring a stay-in nurse or caretaker. You will be living with this person, so make sure that you like him or her. You should also decide whether you would prefer a male or female person to take care of you. There are organizations from which you can hire nurses and caretakers that are trustworthy and capable.
Do Research on Your Condition and the Possible Healthcare Providers
If you need to find a specific type of healthcare provider yourself without a reference, do some research of your own. You can find reviews, comments, and more on the Internet today. You can also ask friends and family for references to good providers. The more information you have on both your condition and the healthcare providers in your area, the better equipped you will be to make the right decisions. Information is everywhere. You just need to look for it.
Decide Whether Palliative Care May be Necessary
One of the most difficult decisions you will ever face for yourself or a loved one is whether you need to make use of palliative care services. When the prognosis only gives you a few months to live, you may need 24-hour care and pain management. Very few families can take on the challenges that this type of care brings and it may at some point be necessary to make this decision. Making the decision to involve palliative care healthcare providers and assistants are not abandoning your loved one. You can visit everyday and make sure they are as comfortable as possible.
Your Healthcare Provider Team
As you can see, there are many different decisions to make when you build your healthcare team. Some of them may be chosen by your doctor or a specialist, but it’s mostly up to you and who you feel comfortable.
Chronic illnesses and diseases that have a poor prognosis for the length of life left can take a big toll on you, your lifestyle, and your loved ones. Your healthcare team should be able to work together to address your needs in different areas. You will know when one of the providers are no longer the best for you and then you need to find a replacement.
Example of a Healthcare Provider Team
We want to use the example of someone who has breast cancer. A lady with breast cancer will need several healthcare providers in her team. They can include a gynaecologist, physician, oncologist, chemotherapy assistants, homoeopath, physical therapist, nurses, anaesthetist, plastic surgeon, etc. These are the people she will need for general care, check-ups, treatments, and surgery if needed.
Choose your healthcare provider team carefully. They will make living with your disease or illness a lot easier. Also, remember to be grateful if they do their jobs well and help to get you better.