Moving can be both exciting and stressful for everyone. Finding a new place to live, learning a new neighborhood, meeting new friends all takes time and energy. For PAH patients there is an added stress of finding a PAH expert to transfer medical care to.
Here are 5 easy steps for making moving with PAH less stressful.
1. Plan ahead: speak with your PH Care Center as soon as you know a move may be happening.
- You may want to coordinate planned tests or procedures such as echocardiograms or right heart catheterizations to be done with your current physician in a familiar environment prior to your move.
- Your physician may know of PH experts in your new area but if not this will allow for you and your physician to look into what centers and resources may be available in your area. It may be helpful to do some research online to find out which physicians will be closest to your new home and then discuss those options with your current physician. The PHA’s (Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s) website at www.phassociation.org is a great place to start. They list physicians by state and are currently in the process of certifying Centers of Excellence.
- It is helpful for your physician’s office to have a heads up that you will need a copy of your chart and one sent to a new provider. Electronic medical records can be difficult to sift through and don’t always paint a complete picture. Ask your physician to write a summary or speak to your knew provider personally before your first appointment.
- New prescriptions may have to be written or transferred to new pharmacy locations which will require signatures from your physician. Speak to your current pharmacy providers, both retail and specialty, and let them know about the move.
2. Find a physician and a back-up physician:
- Work with your current provider to find a PH Center in your new area. Research them and speak with their office to make sure you feel confident in the care they can provide for you. Have a back-up plan of which center you might choose next should the need arise.
- If you’re moving within your region your current physician may be able to continue to provide care for you. You would need a local pulmonologist or cardiologist that you could see regularly that would be willing to work closely with your current provider and you would need to have the ability to see your PH Expert at preset intervals.
3. Make an appointment:
- Make an Appointment as soon as you know your move date. Keep this Appointment. It is important for the new physician to meet you and review your records before you have a PAH emergency. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about the center, what number to call or which facility to go to in case of an emergency, and learn about local resources such as PAH support groups to get connected to.
- Although medical records were probably sent to the new physician it is a good idea to come to your first appointment with a copy of your chart.
4. Pace yourself and ask for help:
- Remember that PAH patients have good days and bad days. Listen to your body and don’t’ push too hard to pack or unpack those moving boxes. Rest when you need to rest and ask for help from friends and family to make the job easier.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects and place boxes on a table or counter rather than the floor when unpacking. This will help to avoid bending head down at the waist.
5. Stay connected to your support system while working on building a new support system:
- Moving doesn’t have to signal the end of interacting with your current support system. If you have friends or support group members that have helped you cope with your disease stay in contact with them. Facebook, skype, and facetime make it easier than ever to stay connected. Don’t avoid meeting new people but don’t forget about the valuable relationships you have already developed.