Coping with Chronic Diseases Amid COVID-19

Female experiencing headache

Since it became public worldwide in January 2020, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to be at the forefront of US news headlines, talk shows, and social media posts. The “new norm” involves people staying at home, practising “social distancing,” and adopting new terms in daily conversations such as “clusters,” “flattening the curve,” and “face masks,” to name a few.

Fortunately, the world is now better equipped in recognizing and managing symptoms of the disease. It is also more informed on the proper healing for patients. What has not changed is the situation of people struggling with chronic conditions, which has become more challenging due to the restrictions associated with the pandemic.

Chronic Diseases and COVID-19

People with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pulmonary disease still require access to healthcare and hospice care. Here in Southern Indiana, the need is no different, but the state shares the same problem as most US states (and the rest of the world) — obtaining much-needed treatment is more difficult in the wake of COVID-19.

Shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks, and gowns have required many physicians and clinics to limit office hours or donate their supplies to hospitals. Also, hospitals now practice new procedures regarding where, when, and how individuals can enter their facilities.

Many long-term care facilities are not accepting visitors and denying or restricting entry to protect their patients against the disease.

Due to the growing worry surrounding COVID-19, stores are also struggling to maintain enough supply of medications on their shelves. As a result, it’s harder to buy necessary goods and medicines.

Receiving Care for Chronic Disease Amid the Pandemic

Living with these new norms, what is the best course of action to ensure you or your loved ones still receive proper healthcare? While there is no single answer, there are ways you can take:

  • Plan ahead.
    • List your current supply of medicine and avoid waiting until the last minute to contact your pharmacy or physician for a refill.
    • Monitor your or your loved one’s symptoms and immediately notify your healthcare provider in case there is a change in your or their condition.
  • Comply with your current treatment regimen.
    • Always take your medications as prescribed by your physician
    • Continue monitoring your blood glucose levels
    • Refrain from forgoing necessary treatments
  • Adjust to the new norm
    • Turn to online shops for medication prescriptions
    • Consider telehealth visits instead of your usual trip to the doctor’s office
    • If you or a loved one is exhibiting worsening symptoms, consider hospice or palliative care.

Checking blood pressure

Careful planning can help you and your loved one receive treatment during these trying times. The pandemic should not keep anyone from recovering or receiving relief from their chronic condition. Stay in touch with your attending physician to learn how you can continue the treatment and how you can arrange visits when necessary or urgent.

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