No one likes to feel unwell. In a best-case scenario, you may be able to force yourself through the day, but a chronic condition can cause your quality of life to suffer. You may need to take time off from work, reduce daily activity or even spend some time in hospital. We can all agree that there’s nothing good about being sick. However, modern advancements in patient care mean you can still make the best of a bad situation. Here are five ways things are changing.
More doctor-patient collaboration
Patients have more power these days. Because of technology, they have greater access to information about their conditions and possible treatments.. Patients expect to have more thorough discussions with healthcare practitioners before decisions are made. They expect to play an active role from diagnosis through to treatment and rehabilitation. This collaboration can only become stronger in the future.
More coordination between healthcare providers
People are living longer; chronic illnesses are increasing, and many people have more than one condition. This means they will need to see an increased number of specialists. These specialists are now working more closely together to share information and medication details in order to ensure more seamless treatment. Not only is this advantageous for practical purposes like scheduling appointments, but it has been linked to better outcomes for patients.
More holistic therapy
Massage, herbal treatment, homeopathy, and energy therapy are being used alongside conventional Western medicine for a variety of conditions. Many physicians dismissed these complementary treatment approaches in the past but some are starting to embrace them. Complementary practitioners are now collaborating with medical doctors and this is making a big difference to patients. Physicians still take the lead in diagnosis and treatment but the gap between them and other healers have become a little smaller.
More use of medical marijuana
From migraines to cancer, HIV/AIDS, and fibromyalgia, marijuana is being used to treat both symptoms of disease and side effects of conventional medications. Studies have shown that cannabis fights cancer cells and tumors and also reduces the pain and side effects of chemotherapy. Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce the intensity of pain without the addiction potential of opioids. More states are allowing it to be used, more patients are asking their healthcare providers about it and more doctors are writing prescriptions. See Aleafia for details.
More use of virtual reality
Think virtual reality is just for techies and gamers? Think again! VR is being used in the healthcare sector to ease pain, reduce anxiety and improve mental health conditions. The practice is in its early stages, but you can expect it to increase. Studies show that patients waiting for surgery or dental procedures showed less anxiety when they were taking part in virtual reality experiences. The experiences included seaside scenes and audio to guide relaxation. VR has also been used with success in physical therapy to motivate stroke survivors, cerebral palsy patients and people living with Parkinson’s.
These advances in patient care mean illness can be at least a little less stressful. Increased collaboration means doctors, patients and caregivers are all on the same page. The use of complementary medicine and medicinal marijuana means treatments are more holistic. Incorporating modern technology like virtual reality means patients feel less stress. Illness still sucks but the support for patients is increasing.