Chronic Conditions and COVID-19: Going Beyond Handwashing

Webinar Information

Managing chronic conditions has always been critical in regards to improving employee health and reducing healthcare costs. With the emergence of the COVID-19 health crisis, it’s more important than ever as patients with chronic conditions have a higher risk of complications with COVID-19. With a multitude of telehealth resources available, discover how pharmacists can make a significant impact on patients with chronic conditions.

Speakers:
Jessica Lea, CEO, Pharm.D., EMBA, BCPP
Jason Grace, Director of Clinical Services, Pharm.D.
Austin Morgan, Pharm.D.
Date: April 23, 2020
Time: 11:00AM – 12:00PM CDT

Positivity During a Pandemic

It seems like every day we are inundated with COVID-19 information.  While important, it can be overwhelming and depressing.  For people with chronic conditions, it can be downright scary!  Managing chronic conditions is more important than ever. Tria Health’s pharmacists have been hard at work, providing care to patients with chronic conditions, helping them through these trying times. Here are some recent patient success stories.

Allergies or COVID-19? 

It can be difficult individuals to understand the differences between allergies, asthma or COVID-19 symptoms. Knowing how to distinguish the condition will help in expediting treatment. For help understanding the differences between symptoms, see this Respiratory Illness Chart.

Tria Triumph

A patient had allergies, high blood pressure, and was struggling with her asthma. She couldn’t afford her inhaler and was terrified to leave her house due to COVID-19. Tria Health assisted the patient with getting the medication cost reduced and coordinated with the patient’s doctor and pharmacy. Tria was able to get the medication sent directly to the patient, reducing her risk of exposure. Tria was there to answer all her questions and concerns and educate her on the difference between respiratory illnesses.

Social Distancing Reducing Visits

For some, going into the doctor’s office was the only way of receiving affordable medications through samples or trial packets. Due to COVID-19, some people haven’t been able to safely leave their homes or afford their medications.

Tria Triumph

A patient with heart failure could not afford one of their critical medications. He was going to the cardiologist office every 2-3 weeks to get samples. His Tria Health pharmacist was able to sign him up for a manufacturer coupon at an affordable copay. Tria Health also had the prescription sent to a pharmacy with a drive through pick up to allow for appropriate social distancing for this high-risk individual.

Getting Diagnosed with COVID-19

If you have a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, it is important to take proper precautions to protect yourself and those around you. To learn the steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, click here.

Tria Triumph

A patient called the Tria Health Help Desk with questions and wanting information regarding their recent diagnosis of COVID-19. Tria helped educate the patient with quarantine recommendations, along with encouragement to keep a temperature log. If the patient started having breathing issues, they were instructed to go to the emergency room and to call ahead before going. Simply talking to a Tria Health pharmacist and having them provide a detailed overview of next steps helped put the patient at ease.

New Habits

While it’s important to continue your current treatment regimen to effectively control your conditions, now might be a great opportunity to instill some healthy habits.

Tria Triumph

During a smoking consult, a patient was struggling with anxiety and feeling completely out of control with the pandemic. She was not seeing any progress with quitting and was starting to feel down on herself. Tria’s pharmacist worked with the patient to refocus her efforts and make a list of things holding her back. During a follow up consult, the patient had cleaned out her smoking area, found new healthy habits, and started organizing her day. In addition, the patient is wearing a mask more often, which was also keeping her from smoking. Due to the support from the Tria Health pharmacist, the patient now has a happy place to enjoy the sunshine and her daughter.

Image Source: CDC

Sources:

  1. https://community.aafa.org/blog/coronavirus-2019-ncov-flu-what-people-with-asthma-need-to-know
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

Virtual Teamwork

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Transitioning from an office to working from home can result in a multitude of changes for employees’ daily habits and mental health. Keeping employees healthy and supported promotes a productive and positive work environment. While you and your employees may not be in the office, you can still maintain your company’s culture virtually. Below you will find some options that can help boost productivity and work from home comfort.

Virtual Activities with Co-Workers

Resource: Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, Teams

  1. Happy Hour
  2. Trivia Night: Charades, Heads up, Random Trivia Generator
  3. Weekly updates with team
  4. Team Building2 activities
  5. Yoga: 30-60 min.

Brain-Break Activities

  1. Yoga- Short Sessions, Quick Flow
  2. Taking a walk
  3. Get fresh air
  4. Meditation- Short Sessions
  5. Check the mail
  6. Organizing day/week/month
  7. Journal or color
  8. Stretch- Short Sessions

Staying Connected

Resources: Google Docs, Slack, Teams

  1. Photo sharing- Just because break room sharing isn’t an option anymore doesn’t mean all those photos of the dog, kids, new meals or beautiful landscaping can’t be shared. Create channels for those that want to share and keep up with others new social normal.
  2. Entertainment updates- Remember going into the office excited to chat about what happened during that new show or movie? Well try it a new virtual way- create a channel on the communication app your team uses to share your thoughts or even use one of the recommended breaks to catch up!
  3. Recommendations- With all this time at home people are beginning to discover new shows, podcasts, movies, and plenty of other activities you or your family could take advantage of. Create a channel or google doc for people to add suggestions and use as a resource when they need recommendations from trusted co-workers.

While the transition from the office to home may seem simple, establishing a routine to ensure effective health management is important. For those with chronic conditions, staying healthy now is more important than ever.

Have questions related to condition management or medications? Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742. Tria Health is a no cost benefit provided through select health plans.

Sources

  1. https://www.pcmag.com/news/get-organized-20-tips-for-working-from-home
  2. https://biz30.timedoctor.com/virtual-team-building/

Telecommuting Tips & Tricks

Image Source: Christopher Gower/Unsplash

Since the COVID-19 outbreak more people are working from home than ever and for many of us this is all new. It’s drastically different than going into the office but by using your resources and communication work will go on and you may end up being more productive than ever. Here are some tips and trick to improve productivity and encourage growth throughout this time:

  1. Create a designated workspace: Establishing a physical difference between work and home life will help keep you connected to each but not overlap one another.  If you are not able to have a designated office room it’s important to create the make-shift office somewhere you don’t spend a lot of personal time (i.e., living room, kitchen, bedroom), or else it can be hard to distinguish work time versus personal time. Although your work is in the home now, they are still contrasting elements that need to be treated as so in order to stay efficient. 
  2. Avoid being stuck in the same chair all day: Remember all those times you would get up from your desk to ask a question or grab something? Well since everything is virtual now it’s easy to get stuck behind that screen. Don’t forget you can take the dogs for a walk, check the mail, or take a call outside, just try your best not to get cabin fever. Creating a plan to get yourself moving throughout the day can boost productivity and allow for new routines.
  3. Overcommunicate with everyone: Working remotely is a new thing for most people so don’t feel like you’re asking a dumb question. Since verbal communication plays such a large role in the office atmosphere it’s hard to transition from popping your head over the cubicle or walking down the hall when asking a question to sending an email. It’s also important to note that most people will be working their normal hours so it can even easier to just give them a call or use Zoom.
  4. Create a routine for before, during, and after work: Accountability can be very hard during this time so creating a routine during the weekdays can prove to be effective, especially if you have others in the house with schedules. Although you are not going into the office it can be helpful to change into ‘work clothes,’ whether that’s a new pair of sweatpants, or an outfit that boosts your confidence it can help give the feeling of work and increase performance. With a routine it’s important to block off time to handle things that may be distracting to you and/or your work (i.e. kids and homework schedules, etc.). Get to know yourself during this time and how you work, don’t be afraid to recognize what distracts you and how to boost your own productivity.
  5. Take advantage of this time at home: This may be the only time you get to work from home so throw that load of laundry in at lunch. Eat lunch with your quarantine crew while you have the chance and don’t forget to wash your hands!

If you have a chronic condition, these changes may be having a larger impact on you and staying healthy now is more important than ever. While the transition from the office to home may seem simple, you need to establish a routine to ensure you’re effectively managing your health. If you have any questions related to your condition management or medications, call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742. Tria Health is a no cost benefit provided through select health plans.

Working From Home

Image Source: Sven Brandsma/Unsplash

Making the Switch

As those with the ability to work from home have probably learned, it’s a lot different than going into the office. Although production and availability can increase, separating work from home can get more complicated. If you don’t use available resources early, it can only get worse. Those working from home for the first time have probably noticed how much verbal communication plays a role in the office and how productivity works throughout the week. Asking a question by peeping your head over the cubicle or walking down the hall is no longer that simple. It can be if you stay up to date on communication software and available technology your employers employ. But just having them downloaded to your computer and phone doesn’t solve all communication problems. Doing a quick Google search about the program can give you articles, tutorials, and videos to help improve your work-flow ability. Transitioning to working from home can be difficult and takes time to understand your schedule while managing all the other distractions around you at home.

Physical Health

Now more than ever it is essential to listen to your body and keep up with or even start those healthy routines. Just because you’re in the comfort of your home doesn’t make anything simpler, it can sometimes make things more complicated. All those times you walk around to ask questions, pick a paper up off the printer, grab a snack from the kitchen or get up to move in general you’re not doing anymore while being stuck behind that screen. It’s easy to get busy so don’t forget to move around throughout the day. Adding some sunshine will even help boost your mood and productivity. Taking some time at your desk to stretch and re-group in between meetings or projects can help create a transition too.

Mental Health

Monitoring your mental health during this time is just as important as physical health. Everyone has had to make drastic changes to their everyday life and its crucial to recognize those and work through the struggles that can arise. For those prone to anxiety and depression it’s important to recognize your feelings and work through them in ways that have worked in the past, such as reading, staying connected or even remote therapy.1 Being aware of your mood and behavior throughout this time will be valuable to your working from home experience. Always be mindful and reach out to the appropriate people if necessary.

Tips & Tricks

  1. Create a designated workspace to ensure the separation of work and home.
  2. Avoid being stuck in the same chair all day. Take the dogs for a walk, check the mail, or take a call outside, just try your best not to get cabin fever.
  3. Overcommunicate with everyone and never feel like you’re asking a ‘dumb’ question.
  4. Create a routine for before, during, and after work to hold yourself accountable.
  5. Block off time to handle things that may be distracting to you and/or your work (i.e. kids and homework schedules, etc.)
  6. Take advantage of this time at home. This may be the only time you get to work from home so throw that load of laundry in at lunch. Eat lunch with your quarantine crew while you have the chance.

Do what’s best for you!

If you have a chronic condition, these changes may be having a bigger impact on you and staying healthy is more important than ever. While the transition from the office to home may seem simple, you need to establish a routine to ensure you’re effectively managing your health. If you have any questions related to your condition management or medications, call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742. Tria Health is a no cost benefit provided through select health plans.

Sources:

  1. https://www.fastcompany.com/90479504/how-to-maintain-your-mental-health-while-working-from-home