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Tips for Adapting to a New Medical Diagnosis

Home Health Care Services Can Help You Feel Better as You Manage Your New Normal

Receiving a new medical diagnosis can be life-changing. How you deal with it, accept it, and adapt to it can make a big difference.

When you’ve just been told you have a chronic or life-limiting illness, it can be a lot to process. You’ll probably be overwhelmed with questions about how to manage your disease and make lifestyle changes.

To successfully adapt to your diagnosis, you may need support from home health care agencies and your physician – but you’ll also need to take matters into your own hands, like following these tips for adapting to your new diagnosis.

Don’t Google Your Diagnosis

It can be tempting to seek information on the Internet about your new diagnosis. And indeed, the Internet contains numerous valuable resources. However, with a brand-new diagnosis, a Google search and deep dive into content can sometimes do more harm than good.

Diseases are complex, and they don’t always present the same in all patients. Googling symptoms and diagnoses can often make you feel even more worried or confused. That’s why it’s best to stay offline and ask your physician for resources and advice instead, including letting your doctor know you think you may need help from home health care services as you adjust to your new diagnosis.

Remember That You Aren’t Your Illness

It can be easy to make your new diagnosis part of your identity. Labeling yourself is a human tendency – that’s why business people love personality tests and strengths questionnaires.

But if you let your diagnosis become your identity, you risk losing sight of all your other wonderful traits along the way. Your label can help describe your condition, but remember that it isn’t the most important thing about you.

Rest When You Need To

Anyone learning to manage a newly diagnosed illness can find it to be a taxing and tiring experience. And as your body adjusts to new medications or recovers from emergency surgery, you need more rest than usual.

When you’re feeling sick, it’s likely that your body needs more sleep. In fact, it’s recommended to add an hour of sleep each night, plus take a short nap or two during the day.

Just as you’d ask your home health care provider or physician for advice on managing your diagnosis, you can also inquire about how to improve your sleep hygiene and ensure you’re getting enough rest.

Change Your Mindset

After a major diagnosis, you may find yourself wondering, “Why me?” This can lead to unhealthy thought spirals that negatively affect your mental health.

You don’t have to “look on the bright side” or find positivity in every moment. But you can embrace what you’ve learned and take an inventory of the things and people who have made your life better, regardless of your illness.

Some newly diagnosed people find mindfulness helps them improve their mindsets. Mindfulness is a meditation that asks you to focus on being aware of what you’re feeling or sensing in a particular moment, without judgment. Some people use guided imagery or breathing techniques during their mindfulness practice.

Although hard data on exactly how much mindfulness can improve chronic illness, initial studies support mindfulness as being an important part of disease management and self-care.

Ask Your Home Health Care Nurse for Help When You Need It

If you’re learning to manage your new diagnosis, your physician likely ordered home health care for you. The home health care agency will assign an RN case manager to you, who will oversee your progress as you recover and adapt to your condition at home.

Not only will your home health care provider coordinate care with ancillary services like physical therapy or occupational therapy, but your home health agency will also be available to you 24/7 if you have questions about your condition or need help deciding whether you need emergency care. Think of your home health care nurse as your resource for navigating your new diagnosis.

Not Receiving Home Health Care Services? You May Qualify!

If you were recently diagnosed with a new chronic or life-limiting illness that requires ongoing medical care, such as IV medications, catheterization, colostomy bags, or other medical equipment, you may benefit from home health care. Talk to your physician about whether they recommend home health for you and to learn more about your care options through the best local home health care agencies.

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Wesley Koenig, RN

Meet Wesley Koenig, RN from our Columbia location. Wesley, we are so thankful for your dedication to your clients and Phoenix Home Care and Hospice!

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