Role of the GP in Managing Chronic Illness

Posted on: 3 October 2018

Chronic illnesses are long-lasting diseases with effects that develop with time. Some of the common chronic diseases among Australians include cancer, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and mental illness. The GP, or general practitioner, plays a vital role in helping patients diagnosed with such diseases. Below are some of the roles of the GP in chronic illness management.

Creating awareness

The GP plays a pivotal role in educating people about chronic illnesses. For instance, he or she can allocate a few minutes of the consultation time to educate patients about a specific chronic disease. For patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses, the GP will educate them on the disease cycle and best management practices. Some general practitioners will go out of their way and participate in community activities aimed at creating awareness on chronic illnesses.

Building rapport

Good rapport aims at building patient-doctor trust, which is vital in the management of chronic illness. There are instances when patients with chronic illness lose hope and feel like the disease is taking over their lives. With good rapport, the patient will open up to the doctor, who will in return provide assurance and encourage the patient to abide by the treatment plan.

Creation of a management plan

The GP helps in the formulation of a chronic disease management plan that is tailored to the needs of every patient. The management plan outlines the various interventions that need to be undertaken to improve the patient's quality of life. It is created in collaboration with the patient as a way of encouraging him or her to abide by the plan. Advantages of the chronic disease management plan are:

  • It makes it easy for the GP to track the disease and gauge the success of various medical interventions.
  • It gives way for self-management so the patient can undertake various activities such as exercises aimed at improving their health.
  • It provides the patient with the required skills needed to manage their health; for instance, diabetic patients learn how to inject themselves with insulin.
  • It outlines the short-term and long-term goals of disease management.

Linking with other professionals.

The GP links up with other medical professionals engaged in managing the patient's disease. He or she is resourceful in providing information on disease progression and the various initiatives taken to manage the disease. In such a way, it becomes easy to evaluate the best alternatives to managing the illness.

Ways in which the GP helps in the management of chronic illness include creating awareness, building rapport, creating management plans and collaborating with other professionals.