Long Term Conditions

Topics: Blood sugar, Health care, Diabetes mellitus Pages: 9 (2612 words) Published: March 7, 2013


MODULE LEADER: jane smith



The aim of this essay is to define a long term condition (LTC) and explain why this is important for nurses. Common symptoms may accompany many LTC’s and how these are treated, along with the impact on patient and carer will be considered. The patient chosen for this case study shall be referred to as John to conform to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) (2008) guide concerning confidentiality. John has Type 2 Diabetes and after a road traffic accident has an injury to his foot which is slow to heal. As a student nurse, being involved in the care of many patients with diabetes, this patient was chosen to improve my awareness of the condition and to improve care given in the future. This essay will explore depression and its effects on people with diabetes and its prevalence within other LTC’s. In the past, LTC’s have been treated medically; however, empowering patients can contribute to a healthier life and an introduction into how Type 2 Diabetes is currently managed will be discussed. Finally, the essay will explore educational programmes and policies relating to care for people with diabetes and other LTC’s.

The Department of Health (DOH) (2005a) state that a long term condition is one that cannot be cured but can be managed through medication and/or therapy. It usually affects older people more than those of younger years and also people in lower socio-economic groups. Additionally, the DOH National Service Framework (NSF)(2005b) although refer to long term neurological conditions, expand on this definition by adding that all LTC’s will affect families and the individual in some way for the rest of their life. According to the DOH (2008) there are approximately 17.5 million people in England with at least one LTC, the most common being cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and depression. Caring for these patients costs the National Health Service 70% of their primary and acute budgets (DOH 2008).

This is a significant consideration to the future of nursing as it is important to realise that the majority of people we will be caring for will have at least one LTC. Indeed, Plews (2005) notes that 60% of hospital beds are occupied by people suffering a LTC. Additionally, Margereson et al (2010) suggests that as life expectancy increases, so will the number of people living with LTC’s, thus presenting nurses with increasing numbers of patients with complex needs.

Ascott et al (2011) suggest that people with LTC’s may often share common symptoms such as fatigue, pain, depression, stress and breathlessness. As nurses, the ability to offer quality care requires knowledge of LTC’s and the common symptoms that can accompany them. The treatment of these symptoms not only affects patient’s quality of life, but also their ability to manage their condition. Additionally, Margereson et al (2010) suggest that holistic care will consider the psychological, social, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the patient which in turn may improve the quality of their life overall.

Type 2 Diabetes is classed as a LTC as it cannot be cured but can be managed through medication. National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (2009) define Type 2 Diabetes as the inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin, or when the cells in the body do not react to the insulin that is produced. This results in elevated blood glucose levels, which can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke, renal failure, blindness and...
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