Recently, my darling’s doctor suggested it was time to have a Care Plan put into place. A Care Plan in Australia, is available for those with chronic illness to have free access to allied health professionals such as podiatrists, physiotherapists, dietitians and diabetes educators. This is a great service but as someone who doesn’t really think about age, I thought immediately – ‘oh that is for older people’. I remember Mike doing this for his Mum and she was in her 80s at the time.
I went along with Mike to meet with the nurse and found it very interesting. As a Veteran (Vietnam War), Mike is already covered for healthcare through the Department of Veteran Affairs and he certainly does have some health issues. As we have recently moved , he needs to establish new specialists and allied health options, so it was good for him to have a plan put into place which included referrals.
There is also an option to have your pharmacist take a look at your medications and make sure there aren’t any contraindications.
Basically, a healthy care plan is an audit of where you are and what you need.
The experience made me pause to think about what type of care plan I have for myself. Fortunately, I don’t have any chronic illnesses, and therefore am not eligible for a Care Plan. I am guilty at times of thinking that my exercise and healthy eating (most of the time) will hold me in good stead and I rarely visit the doctor. I do have some non-negotiable tests due to family medical history for heart disease and various cancers, which I have on my list.
It can be easy to put ourselves on the back burner, as we care for others, and if we are feeling okay not worry about doctors’ visits unless we are really ill.
The Benefits of a Care Plan
- Provides a structured approach to your health
- Enables you to have more active participation in your own healthcare
- Builds rapport with your GP and medical team
- Co-ordination between your GP and allied health professionals
TIME to establish my version of a Health Care Plan
My WOTY is TIME and using my time wisely. This week I took the time to list all of the tests, screenings and health requirements I need at the moment.
- Establish a new relationship with a local GP – I’ve made the appointment and have listed what I need to discuss with her during the consultation.
- Establish a new relationship with a local Dentist – I’ve made the appointment even though I’m not a fan of the dentist but I’m going.
- Book a mammogram – my Mum had Breast Cancer so I ensure I have a mammogram regularly
- Colonoscopy – My Dad had bowel cancer so I have a colonoscopy every 5 years
- Cardiologist – I haven’t been for a couple of years so need to get an update on my heart health.
- Skin Check – living in Queensland which is sunshine most of the year, we have the highest rates of melanoma in the world
- Arrange to finally have a lipoma removed from my left armpit. A lipoma is a fatty lump that forms. It has grown steadily over the last few years and is now bigger than a golf ball so I need it removed. It isn’t dangerous and is benign , however it is starting to become uncomfortable.
- Physio – as a runner and with my regular workouts, my body sometimes needs that extra care. I’m making time to book an appointment for a sports massage.
- Get back on track with healthier eating habits. Not a diet but sometimes I’ve been overdoing the ‘treats’
- Making time to reduce stress and anxiety through regular exercise, social connection and time out to read and for other forms of self care.
That’s a start on my list and I’m sure to add to it along the way.