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Keeping chronic conditions front of mind
Geoff has been a guitar maker for 30 years and lives with his partner Stephanie near Fremantle, WA. See how, together, they use mindfulness as an important way of managing his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“I was diagnosed in 1994, and everything was pretty fine – I was active, doing things – up until about five years ago. Then I started to notice a steady decline,” says Geoff about his condition.
For the last two years, Geoff has used Silver Chain’s telehealth service, a remote health care option for our respiratory clients where they record their daily health observations (“obs”) and symptoms through an electronic device.
This device can recognise changes in their condition and will alert our telehealth nurses, who then call the client to assess their condition and advise on what action to take. This enables early identification of issues, and a fast response, to help people manage their condition more effectively.
Like all telehealth clients, Geoff uses the equipment provided to log his readings each morning, before going to work.
“It’s a matter of making me conscious of my condition and keeping my mind on my health – it helps me to be mindful.”
He also goes to Fiona Stanley Hospital twice a week to as part of his exercise program, to stay active and keep muscle tone.
“COPD is a weird disease; some days I’ll have a good day and some days I’ll think, ‘Hang on, I’m really struggling here.’ I’m not going to improve it, but the idea is to keep me upright as long as possible – it’s as easy as that.
“What the disease has done for me is taken away a certain level of confidence. I realised that when I did things, I tended to do them in a hurry. But now when I’m doing something, I have to think about it – about how I’m going to do it, when I’m going to do it, and what could be the repercussions.”
From Stephanie’s point of view, the telehealth service has been a huge relief.
“With Telehealth, it’s been such a weight off my shoulders. Before that, I was bearing a lot of the anxiety – Geoff wasn’t always paying attention, as a lot of blokes don’t! But then they get in dire trouble; and it all falls on you to decide: is his condition really serious; is this a trip to hospital; should I call an ambulance?
“Using the telehealth service, it makes it his routine and responsibility; and then a medical professional gives their advice. You cannot know how what a huge relief that has been for me and I am so grateful for that.”
Geoff notes that Stephanie is more mindful than him; but he’s getting better at it – and telehealth is helping.
“The Silver Chain telehealth service is excellent; I do appreciate the time and effort of the nursing team,” he said.
“It’s a great service, because the idea is to keep you out of hospital – and the longer you can keep people out of hospital, the better.”
Using telehealth technology, Silver Chain’s respiratory service can reach more people and help them to take control of their own health and wellbeing. Find out more about our respiratory care.
World COPD Day 2018 is being recognised on is 21 November with the theme: Never too early, never too late.