Advances in medical technology have altered the trajectory of illness in our society. Many illnesses that were once considered acute or terminal are now considered chronic. The trajectory of advanced chronic illness, thus, has shifted from a brief period of time to longer periods with impaired quality of life. Patients and/or families living with chronic illnesses are often forced to adjust their aspirations and lifestyle. They also are vulnerable to protracted distress and developing psychiatric illness.
Optimal care and management of chronic illness is significant because it is likely to minimize distress, prevent psychiatric illness, and improve health outcomes and quality of life (Wagner, 2000). A professional team including a medical social worker can deliver optimal care for chronic illness (Wagner, 2013).
To prepare for this Discussion:
Review this week’s resources. Consider a chronic illness that is of interest to you. Think about how the following medical social work practice skills might apply to the illness you chose:
Education and counseling
Post a brief description of the illness you selected and the psychosocial effects of the illness on patients and families. Analyze the issues and concerns surrounding the care and management of the illness. Choose three medical social work practice skills, and explain how a medical social worker might implement them to improve the care and management of the illness. Explain challenges that might arise for families or caregivers caring for a patient with your chosen illness. Explain how you as a medical social worker might address the struggles or challenges experienced by families or caregivers.