A New Approach to Chronic Illness Care: Empowering Patients to Take Charge of Their Health

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Those with a chronic illness are encouraged to take control of their health in this new approach.

On the subject of chronic illness, seniors are usually the experts, with up to 3 out of 4 older adults affected by multiple conditions that are ongoing, call for extensive treatment, and put limits on activities. With the never-ending barrage of bloodwork and other tests, physicians’ appointments and procedures, and medications, managing chronic illness often takes both a physical and emotional toll, and that can very quickly become daunting.

Dr. Mary Tinetti, chief of geriatrics and internist at Yale School of Medicine, explains, “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 goal to minimize the burden of treatment by empowering patients to communicate their personal medical care goals – determining what truly matters most to them. A plan of care will then be developed to best achieve those goals. For instance, one individual’s goal may perhaps be to boost quality of life in the short-term, while another individual may seek to increase longevity of life. Moreover it takes under consideration experiences the individual enjoys and how to find a means for her or him to continue to engage in them.

The Patient Priorities Care method builds upon the Minimally Disruptive Medicine strategy developed a decade ago, which also aims to alleviate the burden of chronic illness treatment, but which did not contain the key aspect of including feedback from patients to be aware of what means the most to them.

Ultimately, what many seniors ascertain is that they wish to lessen “unwanted care,” which they believe requires more effort than the benefits they will receive from processes such as diagnostic tests and treatments. To that end, aging adults and their loved ones can make use of these valuable resources for successful, self-directed care, such as a conversation guide, overview of health priorities, and more.

At JFS Care, a top-rated elderly home care provider in Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding communities, we’re thoroughly focused on learning what is most significant to the seniors in our care, and to giving the level of care that assists them to thrive and reach their goals. It’s why our care is extremely customized, and always starts off with learning as much as possible about every individual and what his or her goals encompass – and then developing a plan of care to help attain those goals. Give us a call at (213) 383-2273 for more information, and visit our Service Area page to see if our services are available where your loved one lives.