“Invisible Patients” and the COVID Pandemic

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“Invisible Patients” and the COVID Pandemic

With thanks to advocate and guest blogger, Karen Leitson. Find Karen’s advocacy profile here: Personalized Healthcare Advocate  Do you or does someone in your family have an unattended medical condition or illness that might be taking a back seat to the coronavirus public health crisis? There is never a “good time” to be sick or to have an ill family member, loved one or friend. But now, during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic, is a particularly difficult time to be in the crux of an illness or even to have medical questions or concerns. How can you and your family get the best care during this time when health care providers and services are so overburdened? Thousands of people with non-Covid-related illnesses are not seeking nor receiving the medical care they need. In many ways this is understandable. Here are some reasons why you or someone you love may be reluctant to seek medical care now: You may be afraid to enter a doctor’s office, urgent care center or hospital for fear of exposure to coronavirus; You may be fearful of being refused treatment; You may worry that your care will be inadequate because the staff is overwhelmed by Covid; You may not want to contribute to draining an already over-burdened healthcare system; or, You may be too anxious to go to a medical facility when you aren’t allowed to bring a family member, companion or advocate with you. A recent article in a prominent medical journal referred to people who are sick but do not have Covid as “invisible patients.” Routine check-ups as well as surgery and procedures for serious conditions are all too often postponed. The American Heart Association reports that 911 call for heart attacks and strokes are significantly reduced from their pre-Covid numbers. What can you do to get the medical care you need and deserve? First, acknowledge that you need and should get medical care. You are not taking something from someone else by avoiding your own care. In fact, if you ignore your own or your loved one’s needs, you or your loved one may get sicker and need more care, thus further taxing a medical system under great stress. Next, make that call. Speak up, contact your doctor and make an appointment or speak to an office nurse or medical assistant. You may need to negotiate a care plan or procedure timeline,…


 

 

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