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As caregivers, we often play a key role in the lives of chronically ill elderly people. Our main tasks are: to improve their level of health, detect their needs, promote self-care to prevent the complications of chronic illnesses, and…

As caregivers, we often play a key role in the lives of elderly people with chronic diseases. Our main tasks are: improving their level of health, detecting their needs, promoting self-care to prevent the complications of chronic disease, providing psychological support, and collaborating with doctors and social workers to ensure that our work is moving in the same direction; that of caring for the chronically ill.

In most cases, chronic illness produces an irreversible dependence that gradually increases, so that the patient never returns to a healthy state. Thus, in addition to the problems derived from the disease, the patient also undergoes a loss of his social role, which can lead to emotional conflicts. At this point, in addition to treating the disease, caregivers must help them with social interaction.

As we can see, caring for a chronically ill person is a process of attention, and not only of medication, since we do not only focus on solving the disease, but we also focus on the person who is going through it. Thus, we pay attention to the chronic disease but also to the suffering of the patient. We can classify the care we must provide to the chronically ill person into three major groups:

“The care of chronically ill patients transcends the aspects related to the disease by also focusing on the patient himself”.

Care of the disease: It is about solving the needs and problems of the disease itself. We must understand perfectly what is happening to the patient and at what stage of the disease he/she is in. In addition, we will try to alleviate the discomfort suffered, or at least reduce it as much as possible by taking the appropriate decisions to do so.

We will also make sure that the patient complies with the doctor’s prescriptions. We will make sure that he/she takes the right amount of medication at the right time, and that his/her life habits are adjusted to the treatment. We will accompany him to the consultation whenever necessary and we can also seek second opinions and consult with other experts if we want to make sure that we are following the right path.

Home care: We must also achieve an adequate context where our patient can live and we can perform the rest of the care tasks. To do this we will adapt their home with the appropriate spatial and furniture arrangements, establishing schedules and creating a good social environment.

To do so, we will take care of the housework, ensuring that the patient’s home, furniture, and utensils are in good condition. At the same time, in cases where the disease requires it, we must take actions to replace the patient’s bodily functions. Such as eating, dressing, showering, moving from one room to another, and so on.

Biographical care: Last but not least, we will work on all the points aimed at reconstructing the patient’s identity. After the effects of the disease and the loss of the social role, the elderly person needs to reconstruct the perception of himself. He will have to learn to interact with his environment again, integrating the disease naturally into his life. These tasks are often the least visible from the outside but they are crucial to take care of the emotional dimension of the patient.

To achieve this, we will support their decisions, comfort them, and always respect their autonomy. In addition, we will avoid social isolation by helping him to maintain his social contacts when he is no longer able to do so on his own and by taking him to social and recreational gatherings whenever possible. Come and visit Healthcare Business Today to get more important information.

Paul T. Linder