Managing a chronic disease is urgent for older adults as well as for younger patients. 80 percent of the elderly have at least one chronic illness developed yet during their active age. Handling these conditions is a challenge not only to health care providers but also to patients themselves. Quick responding to changes happening in one’s body is the key to gaining control over the intrusive symptoms. Chronic illnesses are difficult to eradicate and all the managing comes down to working on the patient’s lifestyle and taking medication when necessary.
The primary task of nurses in addressing chronic diseases is to educate and empower patients. As soon as the doctor diagnosed the patient and defined how hard their condition is, nurses perform the primary care and make up a basic plan of the further actions. For most chronic conditions, doctors advise dynamic control of the patient’s condition, i.e. regular examinations and assessment at the healthcare provider. The revision of medication and their doses is also required. The rest of the disease management is up to the patient themselves.
So how nurses may help their patients to cope with chronic conditions? They need to teach patients how to make smart goals regarding their health. Smart goals are specific, relevant, and achievable measures the patient can take to feel better. For example, patients with diabetes need to check their blood sugar every morning before breakfast during a week and record the results. It shall become more like a lifestyle feature, not something provided by a nurse on certain days. Empowering patients with chronic illnesses, nurses can make them less dependent on health care providers.