Have a Chronic Condition? Following Your Care Plan Is Key to Staying Healthy
Living with a chronic health problem isn’t always easy. You do a lot to manage your condition. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, you may find it harder to stick with your care plan. Now more than ever, it’s important to continue taking care of your health and to not delay essential treatment. Your healthcare provider is here to help.
Keep in touch with your provider
To help you better manage your chronic condition, stay in touch with your health care provider. You can talk with your provider about your condition over the phone. Or you may be able to have an online visit through a computer or another device—a type of appointment called telehealth. Your healthcare provider may also have an online patient portal or an app that can help you keep track of your care.
When communicating with your provider, you may want to go over these key parts of your care plan:
Your medicines. Always take your medicines as prescribed. If you have any concerns about them, tell your healthcare provider. Make sure you have enough medicine on hand to last at least 30 days. Talk with your provider about getting an extra supply, if needed.
Preventive care. Screening tests and vaccines can help keep you healthy. But these often need to be done in person. Your healthcare provider may advise delaying them for a while.
Any tests and treatments. As with preventive care, some tests and treatments may be postponed. But that depends on your specific health situation. Ask your provider about the benefits and risks of coming in for care. You should keep doing any at-home tests, such as checking your blood sugar or blood pressure, as directed.
Your mental health. You may be feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed right now. These feelings can make your condition worse. Tell your healthcare provider how you feel so that you can get the help you need.
A healthy lifestyle can also help you manage your condition. Do your best to eat nutritious foods and exercise regularly. If you are overweight, your provider can give you some good strategies to help you lose weight. And if you smoke, now may be a good time to try to quit. Your health care provider can help you put together a plan to stop.
Make sure you know what to do if your condition worsens or if you become sick. Call your provider right away if you notice any new symptoms.
When you need in-person care
In some cases, you may need to go to your doctor’s office for care. Some treatments and tests need to be done there. Your provider will advise you on what’s best for managing your condition. Don’t let concerns about COVID-19 keep you from getting the care you need to stay healthy.
When you arrive at the office, you may notice some changes. Safety measures have been put in place to protect you from coronavirus:
You may be asked to check in for your visit from your car.
You may be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever, before you can enter the building.
The waiting room may be set up to promote social distancing.
Your healthcare provider may be wearing safety equipment like a mask and gloves.
Be sure to wear your own mask or cloth face covering. It can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Also, make sure you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching surfaces like door handles, elevator buttons, or chairs. And always practice social distancing, even if other patients don’t appear sick.