You already know that chronic knee pain is not just a question of arthritis and pain relief. Knee arthritis affects many aspects of your health and life. It can affect your mobility, your weight and your mood. Having chronic knee pain can put you at risk for diabetes, heart disease and depression.
On top of that, you might not live in a place that has easy access to the things you need for your health. Or you might need some help learning how best to keep moving. You might need help finding care that works with your insurance, or no insurance.
The time you get with your doctor to discuss these things is limited. Thankfully, there are many kinds of non-clinical health staff who can help you get the best possible care, and find your way through the maze of systems and services.
These people have many different titles, so you need to figure out who does what. Here’s how some non-clinical staff can help, its worth finding them. Working with a Patient Navigator or Patient Advocate is a good place to start.
Patient Navigators & Patient Advocates:
-Help you make your health plan
-Help you communicate with providers
-Help educate caregivers
-Help you with paperwork
-Help you understand medical terms
-Help arrange preventive tests
-Help connect you to services
-Help you find financial assistance
Health Coaches, Integrative Health Coach, Care Coordinators, Physical Therapist & Disease Management Nurses:
-Help you find your motivation
-Help with lifestyle change
-Help with behavior change
-Help identify unhealthy things in your life
-Help replace unhealthy habits with healthy habits
-Help you with a movement / exercise plan
-Help you find ways to eat healthy foods
-Help you find classes and groups
Community Health Workers:
-Help you with your social needs
-Help make sure you can follow your health plan
-Help you find financial support
-Help connect you with resources for housing and food
-Help you manage your own health
If you make sure you are working with the whole health team it’s a great way to be in control of your health and a partner in your own care!