Helping Your Client Manage The On-Going Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Clients with chronic diseases are among those assisted by Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Porter Ranch and elsewhere. They understand how struggling with an illness can be discouraging. Career home health care nurses know how to help their clients manage the ongoing symptoms of psoriasis.
Psoriasis is more than a physical disease. Physically, it affects the skin and joints. But the changes it causes in a person’s appearance create emotional, psychological, and social problems for them as well.
Some individuals are stigmatized for how they look. Their self-esteem suffers, and they may isolate themselves. Some avoid forming personal relationships.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that can be treated but not cured. It manifests as itchy rashes and raised scaly patches. It often appears in visible areas such as the elbows, knees, scalp, and upper body.
The rashes and patches vary widely. Some are small, while others affect the whole body. Colors range from pink to red to purple, and the patches may be covered with gray to silvery-white scales.
Additionally, your patient’s skin may be dry, cracked, and bleeding. The most common symptoms are itching and a sensation of burning. Psoriasis can be so painful that the individual is unable to sleep.
There are several types of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common. Most instances of psoriasis occur in cycles of varying lengths.
Medical science has not yet isolated the specific cause of psoriasis. Research indicates that it’s an inflammatory autoimmune disease that may have a genetic component. It affects male and female patients in equal numbers.
Psoriatic skin eruptions result from the excessive growth of skin cells. Treatments are designed to stop the rapid growth. Accordingly, they vary depending on the individual, the type of psoriasis, and the severity of the disease.
Physicians have an extensive selection of treatments from which to choose. As the in-home nurse, you may be involved in evaluating medications and monitoring side effects. You’ll also analyze which combinations of treatments are most effective.
Discover The Triggers For Psoriatic Flare-Ups
Various factors cause psoriatic flare-ups. Infections, injuries, and medications are triggers for some individuals. Others experience flare-ups from adverse weather, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
You can help your patient discover their triggers if they haven’t already done so. Keeping a journal will pinpoint triggering events. It may reveal stress as one of the primary triggers of flare-ups.
As it usually does, disease-caused stress serves to worsen the condition. Stress is a common trigger for a psoriatic flare-up, and it also exacerbates the symptoms. Teaching your patient how to reduce stress will help them better manage their psoriasis.
Why Patients May Not Comply With Psoriasis Treatment
Managing psoriasis can take time, and some of the treatments are unpleasant. The treatments may interfere with medications individuals take for other health conditions. The cost of the treatments keeps some patients from accepting them.
Your patient may also think their psoriasis “is just a rash.” They don’t realize how serious it can be if not treated. Or sometimes a treatment works for a while, then stops, so they give up.
All this makes compliance a challenge. As an in-home nurse offering one-on-one care, you can discuss non-compliance with your patient. You may have suggestions that can alleviate their concerns.
You might discover that they don’t understand the instructions, so their non-compliance is accidental. Some may just need a sympathetic ear. Others may need encouragement to overcome their frustration.
Tips To Help Manage Psoriasis
As well as helping patients comply with prescribed treatment, you can help them manage some symptoms at home. The following tips may be of assistance:
- Avoiding alcohol and stopping smoking: both are known triggers.
- Controlling their weight: obesity is a risk factor for developing psoriasis. It also worsens the symptoms of severe psoriasis.
- Following a healthy diet: good nutrition can help psoriasis as well as improve overall health. Patients may supplement their diet with specific herbs and vitamins believed to alleviate mild psoriatic symptoms. You need to ensure that all supplements are compatible with prescribed medications and other health conditions.
- Preventing and treating dry skin: apply moisturizers generously. Avoid scented creams, lotions, and ointments. Advise patients to use soaps made for sensitive skin. They should also avoid using any product with fragrances that can irritate their skin.
- Taking a warm bath: relax in warm, never hot, water with Epsom salt to reduce some symptoms. Alternatively, adding soothing products like milk, mineral oil, oatmeal, or olive oil to the bathwater can help relieve symptoms.
Teach your patients psoriasis facts. Remind them that psoriasis is not contagious, nor is it infectious, and it’s safe to be around other people. Provide them with healthy responses to use when someone comments about their appearance.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our professional in-home caregivers in Porter Ranch and our other locations provide comprehensive assistance to our clients. Career home health care nurses customize their services to fit individual requirements.