Managing Chronic Disease
Chronic disease is any health condition that has been, or is likely to be, present for the long term. The most commonly known chronic diseases are diabetes, heart disease and asthma but there are many others, including kidney disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety, cancer, lung disease, neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy, and so on. Often these conditions have more than just a health impact because they can also have a significant effect on a person’s social and emotional wellbeing. Living with a chronic condition can be extremely stressful and can involve some significant life changes, so it is important for anyone with a chronic illness to receive well-managed care and health education.
People with chronic health conditions can benefit from planned health care management that clearly identifies manageable goals and sets in place a schedule of health reviews. This is usually called a GP Management Plan. Your GP may develop a management plan in consultation with you every 1-2 years, taking into consideration your individual health goals and circumstances. We recommended that you follow-up with your GP every 3-6 months to review your health goals and management recommendations.
In addition, chronic illness often involves the care of other health professionals, such as dietitians, psychologists, podiatrists, physiotherapists, and so on. When this is the case Medicare can provide you with a number of subsidised allied health visits (generally 5 visits in total across a calendar year) when your GP initiates a team referral plan. This is usually called a Team Care Arrangement. Your doctor will be able to advise you on this.