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It’s All About You - Chronic Disease Management: February 18, 2013

The have’s and the have not’s. Dr. Sindy Bernot sees them every day. People who don’t have access to health care, but do have a multitude of medical problems.

“I have seen a lot of trends - a lot of chronic issues such as hypertension, diabetes, COPD. We have had patients with osteoarthritis, heart disease,” says Dr. Sindy Bernot, a family physician with Lee Memorial Health System.

To go along with their Dunbar-based medical practice, Lee Memorial Health System is launching an outreach program aimed at the chronically ill.

“We are calling it ‘It’s All About You’ and the reason is because if you have a chronic illness it truly is all about you. And the decisions you make,” says Joyce Hall, RN case manager with Lee Memorial Health System.

Working with hospitals, doctor’s offices and rehab centers, patients are referred to the six-week workshop.

“The program is not to teach people about their chronic disease. So we’re not going to discuss in detail diabetes, heart disease. We are going to talk about things everyone with a chronic disease can implement,” says Hall.

Topics cover common issues...

“For instance, one of them is talking about sleep, and what you do to be able to get better rest,” says Hall.

Other segments address pain, diet, mobility and one of the biggest barriers: access to care.

“A lot of the patients we serve are uninsured. So people are taking this opportunity to get back on track with their health. Unfortunately, a lot of them have lost their jobs and don’t qualify like they used to with their chronic issues,” says Dr. Bernot.

Giving people the proper tools to manage their health, gives them power to influence their outcomes.

“Because if they don’t, the disease is going to progress more rapidly. It’s going to be more severe, and it’s going to cause emergency room visits and hospitalizations,” says Hall.