Most frequently treated illnesses in home healthcare

Home healthcare can be defined as medical services provided at home to treat a chronic health condition or help a patient recover from illness, injury, or surgery. Home healthcare affords the patient skilled care at home and provides wider convenience for clients and their families.
The burden of diseases in Cameroon is gradually shifting to non-communicable diseases. The rise in urbanisation and growing transition to a western lifestyle by Cameroonians reduced physical activity, and tobacco use further compounds the already increasing burden of non-communicable diseases in Cameroon.

The bulk of healthcare expenditures is spent on hospital care and physician services. Hospitals are overcrowded, and the nation is currently facing an acute shortage of staff per the population it has to attend to. In a report from the World Health Organisation, Cameroon faces an acute shortage of health personnel and this is further complicated by the geographic distributional inequalities of the national health workforce. There’s a need for more centered care for patients and especially persons suffering from chronic conditions as well as a system that mitigates cost. Unnecessary visits to hospitals have the tendency of increasing healthcare costs as well as being time-consuming, Home healthcare has the potential to reduce both of these costs and provide the patient with the quality care they need and deserve.

Home health care can be assistive in the effective management of NCDs and help the patient deal with the chronic diseases and their symptoms better. The role of home health care nurses is increasingly important as patients are discharged from hospitals and rehabilitation centers early in the course of illness and require more sophisticated nursing management at home.
Here are some chronic health conditions that can be managed in home health care:


1) Cardiovascular diseases

Home healthcare is a source of vital information for disease management, provides guidance on exercises, and stress management helps in connecting the patient to a wide variety of specialists, provide nutritional guidance and planning, manages medication and also introduces new technology on how to better manage your disease.
Through coaching from the carer, patients can develop the skills and confidence needed to participate fully in their disease management.


2) Diabetes

In 2010, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated Cameroon’s prevalence of diabetes among adults aged 20 to 79 years at 4.4%. Prevalent undiagnosed diabetes is also very high – about 80%.
Living with diabetes requires constant vigilance to monitor and adjust blood sugar and intervene at the first sign of problems. Home health care can help you or your loved one recover from complications like slow-healing wounds, infections and amputations. Instructions on healthy diets and the importance of exercise can also be provided by the caregiver. Home health care can also help the patient to improve on self-management of their condition.


3) Stroke

Coordinated nursing and specialty therapy services can help people who have suffered a stroke recover functionality and regain as much independence as possible. Physical, occupational and speech therapy can help you regain the ability to do everyday tasks and communicate wants and needs with loved ones.


4) COPD or other respiratory conditions

If you suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or other respiratory diseases, you know the condition can have a major impact on daily life. Home healthcare can help you reduce symptoms and better manage your condition. With the aid of the home health caregiver, the patient can better recognize symptoms at home and know what steps to take; be better educated about medications and where necessary the carer can help administer them; the patient can be educated about breathing exercises for COPD; Home health care can help deliver oxygen and instruct the patient on how to use the equipment as well as help with doctor’s appointment.


5) Cancer

Whether a person is being treated for cancer or recovering from it, home health care might be an option depending on the type of care needed. from assisting with daily activities and housekeeping to ensuring support during nausea, anemia, pain, infection, and other complications, home healthcare mitigates stress and makes clients as comfortable as possible. Home health care can also help to get certain experts to deliver care to your home. Home healthcare takes into account the emotional and psychological aspects of the disease, which may be helpful, especially for elders who present with comorbid diseases.


6) Alzheimer’s disease/ Dementia

Home healthcare can be great for people suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Whether at an early stage or at a complicated stage of the disease, home healthcare can provide support with: keeping appointments, assistance with remembering to take medications, encouraging participation in activities, making favourite meals, playing favourite music, and other actions that will provide sensory stimulation.


7) Comorbid chronic diseases

Comorbid is the co-occurrence of more than one disease. If you or a loved one is dealing with multiple chronic conditions, you’re likely taking numerous medications and seeing several specialists. It may be difficult trying to manage all the symptoms, medications, and side effects. Home healthcare helps: manage medications; monitor early warning signs; teach you and your caregiver how to manage your health; improve your quality of life; connect you with community resources and home care aides to help with daily needs.


8) After a joint replacement or surgery

Research has shown that utilizing home health services after a total knee or other joint replacement can greatly improve your ability to perform your daily activities. The home health caregiver can assist with medication management, and wound management as well as work with your orthopedic surgeon to ensure a safe and quick recovery. With limited mobility after surgery, home health care can play an important role in getting you or your loved one back on your feet.


9) Depression

Depression is common, especially among the elderly (although not openly discussed in our communities), and is associated with greater morbidity, injury-producing falls, increased risk of hospitalization, and medical costs. But growing older doesn’t have to mean living with depression. A multidisciplinary home health care approach may help overcome depression and anxiety. Nurses and therapists can provide skilled care and teach self-management for chronic conditions.


10) Falls and dizziness

Falls account for 95% of all hip fractures in the elderly. To help decrease the risk of a fall, in-home physical and occupational therapists can work to improve your strength, mobility, balance, and motor skills; address environmental risks in the home; make recommendations and provide guidance on exercise and nutrition; as well as provide techniques and equipment to make you safer in your home.

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