Treatment for a Patient With a Chronic Illness


Patients with chronic illnesses encounter numerous challenges every day, and the case of N.T., a woman who suffers from HIV, proves it. Undoubtedly, it is possible to improve such individuals’ lives by the united efforts of healthcare providers, family members, friends, and ordinary people aiming to make the world better. Unfortunately, about 1.2 million citizens of the United States live with HIV, and more than 10% of them are not even aware of it (“HIV,” 2020). It is essential to be mindful of social determinants of health, support needs of HIV patients, and the ways healthcare providers can intervene to make a positive impact.

The Support Needs

Clinical Care

Additional support needs are an essential part of treatment that is necessary for it to be successful and complete. The most crucial support needs of HIV patients include clinical care, social support, nutrition, and mental health services (“HIV care and support,” 2016). To begin with, constant and effective clinical care for people with this disease is vital as it helps them maintain a stable condition and prevent severe symptoms. For example, antiretroviral therapy is essential for N.T., and ignoring it is likely to lead to adverse consequences (Rouleau et al., 2019). The patient is convinced that such treatment helps her cope with the illness despite its side effects, which influence her desire to stop taking pills. Assessing the current state of N.T. and evaluating whether it is possible to change medications or reduce their number is important.

Social Support

Social support is another type of additional needs that may have an incredibly huge effect on a person diagnosed with HIV. Nowadays, people are becoming more tolerant and accepting, but most of them still have prejudices about such patients and difficulties in treating them normally. Such behavior of others may worsen the illness, that is why social support is of vital importance (“HIV care and support,” 2016). N.T. has a loving and caring family, and it would be of great help to spend more time with them and even invite a psychologist specializing in treating HIV patients and have joint sessions. A psychologist would be able to explain to the family members some unknown facts and rules and give advice on how to behave correctly with HIV patients and how to support N.T.

Moreover, finding HIV support groups (online and offline) and visit them once in a while. Being surrounded by people diagnosed with the same disease, making sure that she is not alone, and understanding the possibility of having a relatively normal life even with HIV would be helpful for N.T. She would get incredible support from a couch and other patients, share her feelings, emotions, and concerns, make new friends, and feel accepted. Such experience is likely to positively affect the emotional state and general treatment.

Food and Nutrition

Another crucial aspect of N.T. treatment is food and nutrition. Following a healthy and balanced diet is of vital importance since some elements found in vegetables, meat, and groats can positively influence the patient’s immunity and psychological health (“HIV care and support,” 2016). On the contrary, excluding junk food like bakery, products with much sugar, fast food, and soda can improve the quality of sleep and reduce the level of stress, anxiety, and irritation.

Nurse’s Interventions

Some types of appropriate interventions of the professional caregiver, such as the nurse, may significantly influence the treatment. For example, if the nurse and N.T. build a strong therapeutic relationship, it would be rather helpful and beneficial for the patient. They may discuss the advantages and side effects of the treatment and the reasons why exactly this treatment is necessary. The nurse may advise whether some actions are appropriate for N.T.

There are some activities that the nurse can organize and be engaged in together with N.T. in order to help her adapt to the situation. For example, the nurse may accompany the patient to HIV support group meetings to provide additional moral care, help if something happens, and make sure that N.T. is as comfortable as possible considering the circumstances. What is more, the nurse should constantly remind the patient about her value, motherhood, and future possibilities. If N.T. has more positive thoughts and memories in her mind, then there are more chances that the treatment will work, and she will start feeling better.

The Objectives of Healthy People 2020

Healthy People 2020 is a unique statement of national health objectives and the prevention program of the government for building a healthier nation. Among other goals, some are about HIV patients and other people that may theoretically have it. First, there is an objective of reducing new HIV infections, which can be implemented by educating people of all ages and genders about this illness, the risks, and the avoiding of escaping it (“HIV,” 2020). Second, the goals of “increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV” and reducing HIV-related health inequities and disparities may be achieved simultaneously (“HIV,” 2020). It is necessary to create special treatment and rehabilitation programs that are available even for poor people and help everyone get the required medical and psychological help, notwithstanding age, race, gender, and social status.

Nurses’ Role in Accepting the Diagnosis and Treatment

Since it is unbelievably challenging for a person diagnosed with HIV to accept reality, it is hard to overestimate the role of nurses in their lives. First, the nurse helps N.T. come to terms with the fact that she needs to take medications, regardless of their side effects (Rouleau et al., 2019). Patiently explaining that rejecting drugs will result in even more severe consequences and gently reminding N.T. to take pills may positively affect the treatment. Second, the nurse may help the patient accept the diagnosis by telling and showing her that her life still has a meaning, and it is possible to live happily even with HIV.

The Impact of the Environment

In this case, it is difficult to disagree with the fact that the environment has a direct and rather strong influence on the health and emotional state of N.T. A patient diagnosed with any disease needs to be in a supportive, caring, loving, and non-judgmental atmosphere for professional treatment to work (Artiga & Hinton, 2018). N.T. is very lucky with her family and friends surrounding her with warmth and care. The fact that she has weak immunity and no job makes her vulnerable, but the financial support of her parents has a positive effect on the situation. Moreover, the patient has a baby, and childcare helps her not to lose strength and hope. Thus, a relatively supportive environment has a positive effect on the treatment and health of N.T.

Social Determinants

Social determinants also have a great influence on the treatment and health of the HIV patient. According to Artiga and Hinton (2018), “social determinants of health include factors like socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood, and physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as access to health care” (para. 2). In this particular case, N.T. has difficulty with money and finding a job, which affects her negatively since she becomes depressed while thinking about it. She has a tremendous and caring environment and access to health care. Finally, N.T. does not have many friends, but those she does have support her unconditionally.


Artiga, S., & Hinton, E. (2018). Social determinants in promoting health and healthy equity. KFF. Web.

HIV. (2020). Healthy People. Web.

HIV care and support. (2016). UNAIDS. Web.

Rouleau, G., Richard, L., Cote, J., Gagnon, M. P., & Pelletier, J. (2019). Nursing practice to support people living with HIV with antiretroviral therapy adherence: A qualitative study. The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 30(4), 20-37.

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1. NursingBird. "Treatment for a Patient With a Chronic Illness." January 6, 2023.


NursingBird. "Treatment for a Patient With a Chronic Illness." January 6, 2023.