Chronic Arthritis Pain

Chronic pain is a condition that many older adults suffer with daily. Persistent pain can be caused by a multitude of illnesses and conditions, with one of the largest contributors being arthritis. According to the CDC, there are currently 54.4 million Americans living with some form of arthritis. 

Arthritis is actually a term used for any number of inflammatory joint diseases. The most prevalent of these is osteoarthritis, which is often the result of joint cartilage being worn away.  Left untreated, chronic arthritis pain can lead people to adopt a sedentary lifestyle, increasing their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and other serious health conditions.

Home health and hospice routinely treat patients with arthritis and other chronic pain contributing conditions. They use various pain management techniques to provide as much relief as possible for each patient based on their specific needs. Under the supervision of physicians, physical therapists work with patients to increase muscle strength and flexibility, and to reduce pain.

Chronic pain can also cause psychological issues like depression and anxiety. Home care social workers provide counseling to patients and their families on how to better cope with their condition. The frequency of home care visits can be an added benefit for lonely elderly patients whose isolation can also contribute to depression. Negative emotions can worsen pain, and people who dwell on their pain can actually experience greater disability from it.

Common Types of Arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis: joint insulation deterioration.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: autoimmune disease-causing immune system to attack the body.

  • Fibromyalgia: amplified sensations affecting the way the brain processes pain.

  • Gout: localized condition caused by high levels of uric acid, usually affecting the large joint of the big toe.

Highlight your agency’s services that provide relief from chronic pain:

  • Provide rheumatologists in your service area with patient education material on arthritis and managing chronic pain. Highlight your services during the visit.

  • Sponsor a lunch-and-learn for the staffs of your local clinics and hospitals to promote discharging to home health for improved patient outcomes and pain management.

  • Offer to provide a weekly mini class at your local senior centers. Promote your pain management services and other topics relevant to senior care like fall prevention, occupational therapy, nutrition, and brain sharpening exercises.

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April 2014: Focus on education; celebration

Did you know that about 50 million adults have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or fibromyalgia? In all, about half of all adults age 65 and older are diagnosed with arthritis. May is National Arthritis Month and it’s a great opportunity to educate about this painful and potentially debilitating condition while marketing your agency.

May is a month when we recognize the vitality of our nation’s seniors. Not only is May Older Americans Month, but National Senior Health and Fitness Day is May 28. Celebrate your community’s seniors while you educate them about the benefits of home care.

May is also the month when it’s important to step back and recognize the professionals who keep our agencies and our referral sources’ offices running: nurses. National Nurses Week is May 6-May 12.

  • Celebrate the nurses on your staff with thoughtful, personalized cards. The cards help improve employee morale and encourage employee retention. Get them at www.tagwebstore.com/nursesweek.php.
  • Honor your agency’s nurse of the year this month during a special staff meeting or event. Find great products to personalize to your agency at http://theadamgrp.espwebsite.com/.
  • Distribute fun and personalized giveaway cards along with a small treat that corresponds with the message on the card to nurses you encounter as you call on referral sources this month. Get them at www.tagwebstore.com/giveaway.php.