RedArc is warning that prioritising in-the-moment support, such as offering access to Virtual GPs and Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), over the type of support that is required when an individual is diagnosed with a long-term or chronic health condition could be a risky strategy, as the support may not be adequate.
Longer-term conditions need support
With NHS services under strain, it is easy to understand the reasons why virtual GPs and EAPs are receiving so much interest and promotion at present. Although these in-the-moment support services may give people immediate attention, they are not always adequate for conditions that need longer-term support such as diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease or more serious mental health issues. Those with complex health needs will often need a greater level of additional support: the long-term health and wellbeing of people may be at risk if in-the-moment care is prioritised.
Many health conditions, such as long-term and serious conditions, need a wide range of practical and emotional support including organising the most appropriate type of care, diagnostics, explaining treatment options, preparing for consultant appointments, managing symptoms, arranging practical help in the home, second medical opinion, and specialist mental and physical support. By taking time to professionally assess the unique needs of the individual, support can be better targeted to make a real difference.
Christine Husbands, commercial director, RedArc said: “There is a place for both shorter term in-the-moment care and more comprehensive support – it is not a case of either/or. Employers and insurers must recognise the benefits of both, and consider the merits of implementing both, for the best possible health outcomes for people. But offering in-the moment support alone, could be a risky strategy for long-term health.”
The features of in-depth support
In-depth support takes many shapes and forms, and the key features it needs to include are:
Being able to support the whole person – both body and mind – is important when dealing with many conditions. People need to be professionally assessed, directed to the most appropriate care for them, and changing needs must be accommodated.
Support needs to be available from pre-diagnosis to help manage symptoms whilst awaiting test results, through to treatment and throughout recovery. In particular, the treatment for some conditions such as cancer can have long-term effects, so support must evolve in line with the individual’s situation.
No two people experiencing the same condition will face exactly the same symptoms and have the same worries and concerns. It is vital that any medical professional takes the time to understand these nuances in order to provide the most appropriate support, organise the most appropriate services, and provide the most relevant information to meet their personal needs over the long-term.