With some autoimmune diseases, people may not know you’re in pain unless you tell them.
This makes it relatively easy for people with some conditions to go out and try to continue their hobbies, their routine daily activities or generally try and be social.
Effects of Scleroderma
But with scleroderma, a disease that affects the skin and connective tissue, the effects may sometimes cause temporary or permanent disfiguration, along with plenty of pain. Advanced cases may experience changes in skin pigmentation, obvious sores anywhere on the body, uncomfortably curled fingers or hands, or other more noticeable symptoms.
Sufferers also are encouraged to bundle up when they go outside – while the people around them might feel a slight breeze on a lovely spring day, the extra sensitivity to their skin that can be caused by scleroderma could make them feel like the wind is painfully cold, as if the person is walking around in the Arctic.
So even though people with scleroderma in the Mt. Vernon area are encouraged to go out and enjoy life, especially on better health days, there are plenty of reasons that it’s much easier sometimes to stay indoors. At least they don’t have to answer questions or be the subject of stares.
Benefits for the Scleroderma Patient
In many cases, a regular visit from a home health care professional can be especially useful in many ways. Besides offering general medical assistance as needed to scleroderma patients, home health care providers can offer some other useful benefits.
As mentioned, someone fighting this disease may feel isolated from friends and family and may not necessarily want to go outside. A caregiver can start by giving them encouragement to at least try, tips on minimizing any difficult situations and maybe even provide transportation if that sort of service is offered through a particular agency or authorized by insurance. But even if it’s just a routine check-in, they still can appreciate a regular visit. Experienced nurses especially know the immense value of simply talking and listening – while it’s not specifically providing direct care, having a good conversation can be rewarding for the patient and for the caregiver.
Scleroderma patients are aware that the disease is always changing. One outbreak might result in numb fingers while another might include skin ulcers or severe digestive or circulatory problems. By the time someone gets to the point that they’re requiring home health care, it’s important to regularly assess whether the disease is progressing, slowing down or staying the same. So a regular visit by a home health care provider can offer some other useful services as to what’s happening and what potentially can happen next if conditions continue to advance. A doctor or other provider can also do these types of diagnoses at their office, but patients may not want to go out on a regular basis, especially when a nurse could come to their home more often. Plus, the nurse/caregiver can always relay information to a provider or others on their medical team if something urgent is needed, like different prescriptions, new symptoms or general disease and medication management.
Access to other expert help.
In addition to regular visits from a nurse or a similar caregiver, a person battling scleroderma in the Mt. Vernon area may benefit greatly from the services and guidance of other professionals trained in specific areas. For instance, a massage therapist can provide pain relief, help relax stressed muscles and distressed skin, and generally make the patient feel better. A physical therapist can be brought in to help the patient create an exercise routine, keep limbs moving and their fitness levels up. It’s not always easy to go out and exercise if someone is not feeling their best, but a therapist can work on improving function and overall wellness. Or if a part of the body is deteriorating as a result of the disease, he or she can help restore circulation to it.
Direct medical care.
Scleroderma can cause some symptoms that might be too much for the patient to deal with by himself or herself. In this case, a home health care professional in the Mt. Vernon area or a caregiver can help with procedures to help the skin. This may include applying ointment to affected areas to help with dryness or reduce stiffening. Patients also may need bandages changed and any wounds cleaned especially if they are suffering from skin ulcers or general sores.
General experience and reassurance.
While the condition of scleroderma may be new to the patient, Above & Beyond Home Health Care in the Mt. Vernon area have had other patients with the disease. While every case is different depending on symptoms and the individual, it can be useful for a nurse or other professional to share what they’ve observed in other patients. Home health care may even assign someone who is more familiar with the disease’s progression to another patient. The information can be quite valuable to the patient and to family members. In more advanced systemic cases, the home health care provider can even offer information about hospice services if needed.
Overall, a home health care professional can be a great resource to a patient with scleroderma. Beyond routine medical care, they can be a useful guide as the patient navigates their way through a difficult disease.