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Recognizing Warning Signs That May Indicate a Need for Additional Resources or Referrals for Complex

Chronic conditions, also known as long-term illnesses or diseases, can be tough to manage. They often require ongoing care from a variety of health professionals and may even require you to make some lifestyle changes in order to effectively treat and manage the condition. However, recognizing when an additional resource or referral is needed for complex cases can be challenging for both patients and clinicians alike.


In this article, we’ll cover some warning signs that indicate a need for additional resources or referrals in order to help you better understand how to recognize when more intervention may be required with chronic conditions.


A complex chronic condition may be more than a patient's primary care provider can handle.

When this happens, it's important for both you and your doctor to know where to go next.


A complex chronic condition is one that is difficult to manage because of its severity and/or its impact on other aspects of life (for example work, and home life). It can also affect how well someone functions physically or mentally on a daily basis due to pain or fatigue caused by their illness. For example: if you have diabetes and experience frequent episodes where low blood sugar causes dizziness or confusion--this could lead to dangerous situations if left untreated! A primary care provider may need additional resources like referrals from specialists (i.e., endocrinologists), nutritionists/dieticians who specialize in treating patients with diabetes; access through clinical trials being conducted by pharmaceutical companies interested in developing new drugs.


Your patient has many co-existing medical conditions is not responding to treatment and is having difficulty managing his or her disease. This could be due to the fact that these patients are often referred for specialty care or have been diagnosed with end-stage disease. They may also be experiencing financial issues due to a lack of insurance coverage and/or high deductibles; therefore, they are unable to afford their medications on their own.


You notice that your patient has signs of depression or anxiety, but doesn't want to talk about it.


Following are some tips on how to approach this topic:

  • Ask them if they have ever felt depressed or anxious before. If so, ask if those feelings were similar to what they're experiencing now.

  • Ask them if there is anything in particular that makes them feel this way (e.g., being away from home). This is important because it allows you to better understand their situation and offer more targeted support as needed by asking follow-up questions such as "How did you cope with this situation?" or "What helped make things better?"

Your patient has trouble adhering to his or her treatment plan and needs help with medication management.

Medication management can range from simply ensuring that your patient takes his or her medications on time and in the right amount (or at all), to helping them find ways of affording their medications if they cannot afford them on their own.


If you think that medication management might be an issue for your patient with a complex chronic condition, here are some things you can do:

  • Discuss how often they should take their medication with them at each visit so that they have an idea of what they need to do before coming in next time. For example: "I want you to take two pills every night before bedtime." Or: "One pill every 12 hours on an empty stomach." This will help reinforce any reminders about when and how much to take for best results--and keep both parties accountable!

  • If possible, make sure there is enough money set aside each month so that when prescriptions run out early (dueling between doctor visits) there won't be any gaps between refills where symptoms return full force due to lack control over dosage levels being maintained consistently over longer periods without interruption due moving away from home temporarily while studying abroad, etc., which could potentially lead someone into feeling overwhelmed by all kinds things happening simultaneously

Your patient wants you to prescribe additional medications because they are not working and their symptoms are not improving.


If the patient has been trying different treatments for a chronic condition and none of them seem to be working, then it's possible that either their symptoms have become worse since starting a treatment or there is something else going on in their life that could be affecting their health (e.g., depression). If this is the case, then it may also help if we talk about some things we can do together so that our patients feel better sooner than later!


Your patient feels overwhelmed by their responsibilities at home and work, so they have stopped participating in activities they used to enjoy.

  • They may be depressed or anxious, which can make it difficult to communicate with you.

  • Your patient may need help with medication management or other healthcare needs that are not being met due to these factors.

Your patient's family members have expressed frustration and exhaustion with their loved one's health condition.


Family members may feel overwhelmed and frustrated, as well as like they are being asked to do too much, which can lead to feelings of resentment in both you and them. In addition, family members may feel like they are being blamed for not doing enough or even for their loved one's condition itself by other family members or the patient themselves. Having to deal with this can be extremely stressful for everyone involved! It is important that your patients receive the support they need from their loved ones when managing chronic conditions so that everyone can get through this together as effectively as possible.



It's important to remember that not all patients with complex chronic conditions need referrals. If you are unsure about whether or not your patient needs additional resources or referrals, talk with him or her about their concerns and goals for care. You may also want to consider contacting an expert in this area of medicine who can help guide you through the process of making a referral decision.






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