The support available for less common conditions needs more publicity

Cancer, heart disease, musculoskeletal conditions and mental health might be the conditions most likely to make headlines and are often the most claimed-for on protection insurance policies, but RedArc is reminding insurers not to overlook other less common conditions, which when grouped together make up a significant proportion.

RedArc nurses commonly support people with less talked about conditions, such as epilepsy, auto-immune conditions and autism, and they are just as difficult for the individual to deal with physically and mentally. They can require just as much support medically and emotionally as the headlining conditions, but because they are less common, they get less publicity, there are fewer charitable resources, so it’s particularly important that people are made aware of the support that can be available.

 Less common conditions

Although some conditions may be less common, their effect can be just as challenging for the people affected. And while there may be 1,000* new cases of cancer per day, many people are affected by a myriad of other conditions. For instance, auto-immune diseases collectively affect around 4 million people living in the UK**: 400,000 people live with rheumatoid arthritis, a similar amount with type 1 diabetes, and 100,000 with Multiple Sclerosis, 2 million people with hypothyroidism. Each of these illnesses requires a very specific treatment plan and support mechanism.

As well as diseases, acute or chronic illness can be difficult to live with, and support may also be needed for a vast range of conditions such as sleep apnoea, hearing loss, vision loss, menopause, autism, etc.

In fact, any condition that alters the normal pattern of everyday life, may result in an individual needing support, either to deal with it, or help to come to terms with their new circumstances.

Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc commented: “It is understandable that the most common conditions receive the most publicity but this mustn’t be to the detriment of the support that’s needed for others. With the more common conditions, people are generally better aware of support, it is often more visible and easier to access, but people with lesser known conditions need to be aware of, and able to access, support too.”

 Epilepsy example

Around one in 87*** people are diagnosed with epilepsy in the UK every day. Whether the individual affected is in later life, of working age, or a child, they and their family may require specialist support. Of course, the NHS is the first port of call for most people with a medical condition but when additional therapies, a second medical opinion or emotional and practical support is required, individuals need to know that they can access long-term personalised support via a protection insurance policy. Particularly now, with the intense pressures faced by the NHS, doctors and nurses may well have even less time to support their patients’ emotional needs.

Support for those affected by epilepsy could entail:

  • Advice about how to manage side effects of anti-epileptic drugs
  • Understanding of the law around CBD oils
  • Mental health support in coming to terms with a diagnosis
  • Practical support in knowing adaptations that may need to be undertaken in home and work life
  • Support in finding a nutritionist to help manage a Ketogenic diet when epilepsy is difficult to control
  • Managing the practicalities and emotions if an individual can no longer drive
  • Arranging therapies to complement medication or negate side affects
  • Reading materials to better understand the long-term prognosis
  • Signposting to national and local charities and support groups
  • Co-ordination between NHS and private services
  • Advice about how to communicate a diagnosis to family, friends and employer

Experts not only help the individual directly but will also research niche support groups and charities, which can be more difficult to unearth for rarer conditions. In particular, when an individual is first diagnosed with any illness their world is often turned upside down, and doing simple tasks, such as finding a local support group, can be too much for them to undertake. Such support can be made available via some individual and group protection products, intermediaries and other affinity groups.

Christine Husbands concluded: “Added-value support for the less common conditions is often included within many insurance policies but it’s important for employers and insurers to ensure that people with such conditions are equally aware that they have the same access to support as people with more widely known about conditions.”