To many, having to live with a chronic illness can be overwhelming and difficult. Senior Staff Nurse Wu Wenjuan hopes to change this mindset by educating residents who seek treatment at Clementi Polyclinic.
As part of the care management team, Wenjuan teaches patients how to manage common chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Working together with care coordinators, doctors and allied health professionals, she equips patients with self-management skills such as monitoring their blood pressure and blood sugar readings at home.
With more than 13 years of nursing experience, she sees patients from various age groups, including young children who suffer from asthma. She helps them and their families by teaching them how to use inhalers correctly and recognise triggers to prevent asthma attacks. For patients who are unable to visit the clinic, Wenjuan does teleconsultations to manage their care.
“I encourage healthy adults above 40 years old to go for regular health screenings, as this is one of the ways to monitor their health,” she emphasises. While chronic illnesses are lifelong conditions, they can be managed well by patients with the support of community healthcare providers. Having a strong support system can be beneficial too, where individuals can encourage one another to lead an active lifestyle, eat healthily, and look after their mental well-being.
While Wenjuan shares her knowledge with her patients, she also draws inspiration from them. She recalls treating an elderly patient in his 80s who, despite having a chronic condition, is able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “He remains active by jogging two to three kilometres daily, and he cooks his meals at home. As such, he is still very healthy,” she adds.
Being able to understand the lifestyles of her patients adds meaning to her work. “Through frequent interactions, my patients can manage their conditions better by integrating care into their daily routines. As a nurse, my heart is always full of joy when I can make a difference by helping others.”
Here are some useful tips to manage chronic conditions:
- Maintain a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 – 22.9kg/m2.
How to calculate BMI: Weight (kg) ÷ Height x Height (m)
- Do physical activities of moderate intensity such as brisk walking, leisure cycling/swimming for at least 150 minutes per week, or 30 minutes daily.
- As a guide to healthy eating, use the healthy plate concept: ¼ plate of rice and alternatives, ¼ plate of protein (meat and others), and ½ plate of vegetables.
- Choose food options bearing the healthier choice logo. As much as possible, eat fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Opt for low glycemic index (GI) food such as wholemeal bread or brown rice to maintain healthier blood sugar levels.
To find out more about nursing, visit www.caretogobeyond.sg/nursing.