Support Available at Health Services
Support Available at Health Services
Health Services provides medical care, education and support for students with chronic illnesses. Our Community Health Nurse is available to meet individually to provide education and support. Her goals are to help students learn how to manage the changing emotions and symptoms which may be brought about by chronic illness so that they can have a successful college experience at UNH.
Services Provided to Students with a Chronic Illness
If your illness has affected your ability to perform academically, it is very important that you communicate with your professors. The Community Health Nurse is available to discuss options such as health withdrawal, communication during limited absences, incompletes and petitioning to withdraw from individual classes. To make an appointment with Judy Stevens, please call 862-3823 or use our online appointment system.
The Community Health Nurse will visit students who are admitted to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. If discharge occurs before she can visit, she will follow-up with a phone call. With student’s permission, she will assist in communication with professors and providers at Health Services. Proper medical follow-up is also encouraged.
Meeting other students with chronic illnesses
The Community Health Nurse connects students to others with similar diagnosis. Sometimes meeting other students with similar chronic conditions can aid in managing feelings of isolation and hopelessness. Students who have connected to each other in the past include students with cancer, Hodgkin's disease, diabetics and Crohn's disease. The Living Well Support Group is also a great way to meet other students. This group is free and offered each semester.
About Chronic Illnesses or Chronic Medical Conditions
Chronic illness or chronic medical conditions are words used to describe health conditions that last a long time or are ongoing. Examples of chronic illnesses and chronic conditions affecting young adults include asthma, diabetes, Crohn's disease and certain types of cancer including leukemia and Hodgkin's disease.
Common Symptoms of Chronic Illnesses
Although every chronic illness is unique, there are certain symptoms, which are common to most chronic illness and conditions.
Chronic illness can drain your energy. The disease itself, inactivity, poor nutrition, insufficient rest or emotions can cause fatigue. Fatigue can also be a sign of depression.
Stress is what our bodies go through as we adjust to our continually changing environment; it has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings. Naturally, stress affects all of us and it is important to learn to manage stress.
Pain is a problem shared by many people with chronic illness. Two of the best ways of dealing with pain are the use of exercise and cognitive pain management techniques, such as relaxation and deep breathing. In addition to exercise and cognitive pain management, there are several other techniques that are sometimes useful for localized pain. These include the application of heat or cold, and use of massage, and acupuncture.
Anger can be one of the most common responses to chronic illness. Having an illness or condition, which does not completely go away, can be very frustrating. Feelings of "why me?" can be common and a normal response. Learning to manage your anger can involve acknowledging this anger and finding constructive ways to deal with it.
Many factors can set the stage for depression, coping with change, loss and your biological and genetic predispositions. Some symptoms of depression include
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in ordinary activities
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Lack of concentration
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleeping Problems
Getting 8-10 hours of sleep a night allows your body to concentrate on healing. Lack of sleep can also exacerbate other symptoms such as pain, anger and fatigue.
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