Legal Definition: People who are chronically ill have a recurring or constant illness. For some it will result in periods of inconvenience, for others a lifetime of pain and suffering. It may also be terminal and therefore will result in death.
Social Definition: The chronically ill are people in society who are living with an illness that is permanent or life threatening. Initially it may not be severe but as it progresses it can become more serious and even fatal.
According to the National Health Survey (Australia’s Health 2000) around three-quarters of the population reported having one or more long-term health conditions (experienced for at least 6 months). Examples of health conditions include asthma, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, emphysema, hay fever, mental illness, back and neck problems, and irritable bowel syndrome.
The needs of the chronically ill include access to services, education, financial support, security and safety, housing, employment, healthcare, and senses of self-esteem and identity.
Access to services for the chronically ill is a very important need as additional work is required to manage a chronic illness and manage the limitations created by the physical and psychological difficulties associated with disease. Those suffering from chronic disease need a centralised system that enables them to access a multitude of resources such as health care and support. People who are chronically ill also need assistance in identifying and accessing services, as well as transport to a range of services, and services that come to the individual. The chronically ill rely heavily on health professionals and luckily in Australia we have a large range of doctors, surgeons, pharmacists, physiotherapists, naturopaths, optometrists, occupational therapists and audiologists. Health services are available to the chronically ill such as home health care and respite care centres on a short-term basis to provide respite for families... [continues]
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