Unlike an acute illness, where there is a defined treatment period, chronic conditions last indefinitely and so it’s harder to sustain a team. The purpose of the team is to aid you through their support and guidance to help you sustain a healing approach to living well with your chronic condition
What that in mind, consider the following:
Healing Team Members
• You: Not only are you the captain, but you must be invested in the process recognizing that you nor any member of your team alone can do it all.
• Care provider(s): These can include doctors, counselors, massage therapists, acupuncturists etc.
• Individuals who can support you in mind, body and spirit. These can be family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and/or other community members.
• Advocate:This person can go with you to medical appointments, stay at the hospital with you an advocate if you are unable to do so.
• Others with similar conditions: On-line or in person support groups can be a great way to learn more about your condition, what’s being tried etc.
Expectations of your team
• Communication is key. Members need to know what you are doing, what’s needed etc.
• Sufficient Numbers: Build your team so that there are enough people to help without over burdening one person. If you are relying solely on a spouse or partner for support and caregiving understand that this can become a significant burden that can be reduced by inviting other people to help.
• Express gratitude: Team members need encouragement and expressions of your gratitude. While you are most likely paying for care provider services (e.g. doctor visits, massage therapy etc.) they still appreciate the acknowledgment that what they’re doing matters. For those doing chore services, such as driving to medical appointments or shoveling the side walk after a storm, in addition to a heart felt “thank you,” small things such as a gas card, a plate of cookies or even a cup of tea make a difference.
• "No:" You and your healing team need to be comfortable with the word “no,” be it “no” to a test or treatment, “no” to requests or “no” you aren’t a good fit for my team.
• Be there for them: Help your team members by being there for them when they are in need.
• Creating positive health outcomes for patients