Chronic conditions: Starting the new year on the right foot

You set your goals as we turned the calendar to 2019. How are you doing so far with your resolutions – do you need help?

Top among the usual targets for many of us are eating better, losing weight, quitting smoking, and learning something new. For those of us with chronic conditions, resolutions likely need some special considerations, but also have the potential to make a significant difference to overall health.

There is reasonable advice out there than can help, like making one small change at a time and being very specific about what you will do. For example, walk three times a week rather than “lose five pounds.” You also need to forgive your missteps. If you’ve said to yourself, “I blew it and ate a box of doughnuts, I give up” – don’t. One blip doesn’t mean all is lost.

Making a change requires persistence and reinforcement; setbacks are common, and it takes time to establish a new way of doing things into your life. Fortunately, there are useful tools out there that can help you stay the course and give you extra support to meet your personal health goals in the face of a chronic condition.

One example is Telehomecare, a program of the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), that is free to patients. It helps people better manage two common chronic health conditions – congestive heart failure and lung disease – from the comfort of home.

Participants get easy-to-use equipment to capture heart rate, weight, blood oxygen and blood pressure. A nurse tracks these vital signs daily at a distance and also provides weekly customized health coaching by phone.

The coaching is designed to help you take steps toward healthier habits, planning how you will manage your condition on a daily basis and learning new skills to manage your health. Some of the topics you might work on with the Telehomecare nurse include knowing your symptoms, nutrition, stress management, physical activity and smoking cessation.

Find out more by calling 1.855.991.8191 or online at

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