Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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UC Community Medical Coalition Targeting Chronic Disease Education

The new group Hometown Health Watch is targeting chronic diseases in their push to educate Upper Cumberland residents.

Internal Medicine Physician Dr. Dawn Barlow said the group is a community health coalition comprised of local medical agencies. She said understanding your condition empowers patients to prevent or better manage conditions like congestive heart failure or diabetes.

“Patients being educated about how much fluid they need to be taking in, about their fluid restriction or their sodium restriction,” Barlow said. “About simple things like weighing themselves frequently to make sure they’re not gaining fluid. Then if those things change to get in touch with their primary care doctor quickly.”

Barlow said basic education about recognizing the onset symptoms of chronic disease can prevent patients from hospitalization. She said Hometown Health Watch has begun meeting again virtually, with a plan to make an education push through all forms of media.

“We want to give them ideas about what kind of questions to ask their primary care doctors when they see them at their visits,” Barlow said. “We want them to know when to seek medical care if they have a flare.”

Barlow said credit truly goes to the nurses for being one of the first lines of education. She said building trust at the local level is key to ongoing relationships between patients and those who care for them.

“Some of those patients suffer from other chronic illnesses such as dementia,” Barlow said. “Their family members may not be with them at those appointments, so the family may not have heard the need to fluid restrict or have a low sodium diet or to monitor their weight. So this may be a good opportunity to get some basic information out to the public.”

Barlow said the Hometown Health Watch group was formed before COVID-19. She said that Livingston Regional Hospital is working in this coalition with other entities like home healthcare agencies, hospice agencies and other medical service providers in the community.