August 12, 2019

Doctors are finding success in chronic disease care management through allowing patient choice.

Regarding chronic diseases, the elderly are usually the experts, with as many as 3 out of 4 seniors impacted by multiple conditions that are ongoing, call for extensive medical attention, and place restrictions on activities. With the constant barrage of bloodwork along with other exams, doctors’ appointments and procedures and medications, chronic disease care often takes both a physical and emotional toll, and that can very quickly become overwhelming.

Dr. Mary Tinetti, chief of geriatrics and internist at Yale School of Medicine, details, “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 established the Patient Priorities Care approach, with the goal to minimize the burden of treatment by empowering patients to share their personal medical care goals – identifying what matters most to them. A plan of care will then be created to best meet those goals. For example, one person’s goal might be to improve total well-being in the short-term, whereas another individual may seek to increase longevity of life. Moreover, it takes into consideration activities a senior loved one enjoys and how to discover a way for her or him to continue to engage in them.

The Patient Priorities Care method builds upon the Minimally Disruptive Medicine strategy developed ten years ago, which also strives to relieve the stress of chronic condition treatment, but which did not comprise the key aspect of incorporating input from patients to understand what essentially means the most for them.

Ultimately, what many older adults determine is they choose to lessen “unwanted care,” which they understand requires significantly effort more than the benefits they’re going to receive, such as from diagnostic tests and procedures. To that end, older adults and their families can draw on these beneficial resources for more successful, self-directed care, including a conversation guide, overview of health goals, and much more.

At Continuum, we are thoroughly dedicated to learning what is most crucial to the seniors within our care, and to supplying the amount of care that can help them to flourish and reach their goals. It’s why our home care services are fully personalized, and always start with understanding as much as possible about each person and what his or her goals encompass – and then developing a plan of care that can help achieve those goals. Reach out to us at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 to find out more about home care services St. Louis and the surrounding communities can count on.