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Living Well with Chronic Conditions: Handling Treatment Gaps

Living with chronic ailments is never easy. Lately, however, it’s gotten harder. The COVID-19 pandemic, court closures and delays, a recession, and the lousy job market all mean the ill and injured are having an even tougher time than usual. Living well with chronic conditions is still possible, however, with the right support. Understand the risks of gaps in your treatment. Not only can this make recovery harder—it can also send the wrong message in a court of law or to your future physicians that you may not be 100% invested in your own health. We know, of course, that may not always be the truth. Follow the four tips below to avoid this type of outcome.

How to Handle Gaps in Treatment When Living with Chronic Conditions

Keep Up with Appointments

There are several ways to continue seeing and consulting with your doctors even as pandemic restrictions limit your mobility further. Most health systems offer apps now where you can send a message; send updates on your condition regularly to your physician so that they can tell you when it’s time for a visit. If they don’t take initiative make sure you’re seeing them at least once every six months. Telehealth or telemedicine appointments are also a great option. If you can see your doctor in person, check ahead to see which precautions they are taking to keep you safe.

Document Your Days

As you wait between appointments, I suggest you build healthy habits around documentation of your condition. Keep a journal (BiFulco Medical Group has free journals you can use, just send us a message.) Be sure to include the medicines and quantities you are taking along with any changes in condition—even the small ones which seem benign.

Keep Moving

We can’t say enough about the benefit of gentle movement. No, there is no need to pay money for a trainer or an exercise program. If your doctor has set you on a rehabilitation exercise course make sure you are keeping those appointments. Home exercise programs can also be accessed online or you can search for something you like on YouTube. Note in the journal you’re keeping that you’ve got an active exercise regimen. It will be highly beneficial for both your physical and mental health in the midst of isolation.

Don’t Forget the VAS Scale

Finally, don’t forget to document your pain levels every single day. We recommend using the visual analog scale, or VAS. It’s extremely simple. Each day you will write down a number between 0 and 10. 0 indicates “no pain,” while 10 indicates “worst pain.” To read further on how to use VAS, click here.

Following these four steps shows that you are doing everything you can to recover and to improve your condition. This is very important if your case ever gets to mediation or trial. It won’t look like nothing was done during a particular time period. And yes, following our advice above takes time and resources. If you’re struggling to get the care you require, speak with your primary doctor and they should be able to help. If you have any questions about life care plans and if they can be of assistance, contact my office today.

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