Suffering from chronic health conditions is never easy and is sometimes so debilitating that they can’t even move or function properly. This poses several challenges to patients who are still working a 9 to 5 job on a daily basis. Companies and businesses need to step up and learn how to properly support their employees who have chronic health conditions. But how exactly can they do that? This guide hopes to address that very topic and propose solutions to how organizations can make their employees’ lives just a little bit easier while at their workplace.
The Experience of Chronic Illness at Work
Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can be a time of significant change for any person, both physiologically and psychologically. It can disrupt that person’s life in ways they couldn’t have imagined happening to them. These people will have to learn to navigate the intricacies of these changes and may go through a difficult time involving a lot of trial and error.
People with such a condition aren’t lazy, incompetent, or even unmotivated, but they worry that you think they are. They’re experiencing new changes that they were not trained for, nor did they expect it to happen. Interestingly, they are also painfully aware of the societal stigma and negative views of others regarding whatever illness or condition they have. This leads to feelings of guilt of not being more participative or holding their fair portion of the workload.
Managers and business owners need to be aware of these things, so they know exactly what their employees are experiencing while they’re at work. By understanding and acknowledging these challenges, you can propose solutions to helping people with chronic illnesses.
How to Support a Chronically Ill Employee
It may be difficult for you to know what to do when you find out you have an employee who’s been diagnosed with a chronic illness. This is understandable at first. However, you should know how to help these employees by considering the following tips.
Manage Your Own Emotional Response
As managers, supervisors, and leaders of the company, learning of an employees’ illness can bring up uncomfortable emotions in yourself. This can manifest in feelings of sadness, pity, fear, frustration, or even helplessness. Be mindful of your own emotions as they are not your employee’s responsibility. Sudden outbursts of these emotions may not help the situation. Instead, focus on how you can help the employee become comfortable while working.
Challenge Whatever Assumptions You Have of Being “Normal”
When working with an employee who undergoes chronic care management, it’s best to reflect on any assumptions and expectations of their abilities before you assign any tasks or responsibilities. If your employee has communicated about any work that they can no longer perform optimally, then it might be best to assign a different task to them.
Ask Questions and Learn to Adapt
As your employee learns to adapt to their condition, you as the manager should also learn to adapt to the employee’s needs. It’s essential to educate yourself and even other employees about chronic illnesses to help you create an environment that accommodates the needs of all.
Knowing how to support employees with chronic conditions can prevent work-related problems and facilitate a more sustainable work environment. By understanding their special needs, you can do whatever’s necessary, so every one of your employees is comfortable being in the workplace.
Medistics Health is at the forefront of providing chronic care management services to patients and their families. When you partner with us, you help us create opportunities for our healthcare providers to engage more deeply with patients like you. Contact us to get started today!