Home Health Care for Those With Lupus

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 5 million people around the globe. Symptoms vary from mild to severe but can affect multiple body systems. Although the disease is well controlled in some people, others experience serious complications that can be disabling or even life-threatening.

If you suffer from lupus and have problems with mobility or cognition-especially if you developed the condition late in life-and aren’t able to function without assistance, you may need help from others. But if don’t have family or friends available to help you, your doctor may order a visiting nurse or another health care professional to come to your home to provide services and monitor for complications. Read on to learn more about home health care if it’s a care option you’re considering.

Potential Complications

Depending on what vital organs lupus affects, you can suffer from heart problems, seizures or strokes, or your lungs can become inflamed and cause coughing and painful breathing. Nearly half of all individuals diagnosed with lupus have kidney disease or lupus nephritis (or inflammation of the kidney). Women with lupus also are more likely than other women to develop osteoporosis.

Another potential complication of the disease is peripheral neuropathy. This condition can damage nerves that function with the body’s internal organs, and the peripheral neuropathy can interfere with the signals from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles.

Along with putting you at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, lupus makes you more susceptible to pneumonia. Since both the disease and the medications to treat it suppress the immune system, you are also more prone to developing viral and bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, respiratory infections, and shingles.

Home health providers will watch for complications or signs of infection, since complications and severe infections that are left untreated can spread to the bloodstream where they can travel to other parts of the body and cause additional damage.

These professionals can also help you in your efforts to help you avoid complications or infections altogether.

Role of Home Health Care

If your condition is so severe that you can’t leave home without assistance or you need assistive devices, medical equipment, or supplies to manage your condition, your doctor may recommend home health services. Home medical professionals can regularly monitor your symptoms, checking for warning signs that may indicate you are developing additional medical complications, as mentioned above. A home health agency will develop a plan of care together with you and your doctor, outlining the services you need, how often you need them, and what outcomes your doctor expects.

Plan of Care

Implementing a plan of care requires home health professionals frequently reassessing your health status by:

  • Watching for positive or negative changes in your condition
  • Checking your heart rate and blood pressure
  • Making certain that you are taking your medications as prescribed
  • Monitoring you for medication side effects

As your home health provider works with you, he or she will also report to your primary doctor if the following symptoms surface:

  • Persistent facial rash, a sign of viral infection
  • Any facial swelling, a sign of inflammation, infection, or medication side effect
  • Increased fatigue, a sign of heart disease, lung disease, or infection
  • Worsening joint pain, a sign of inflammation or infection
  • Any blood in the urine, a sign of bladder infection
  • Any difficulty breathing, sign of heart or lung disease
  • Any foot or ankle swelling, a sign of kidney disease, congestive heart failure, or cellulitis (bacterial skin infection)

Catching the warning signs of any additional problems early can help maintain your health and prevent more serious disease damage.

If you are looking for professional, reliable in-home care for yourself or a loved one, the caring, professional staff of Queen City Home Care is ready to provide the services you need.