Recognising your need for medical help early and finding support

Whether you are suffering from an acute or chronic condition or are experiencing difficulties with your mental or physical health: if a return to everyday life or to work is at risk, you should not delay taking action! A treatment programme can help you get back on your feet. When is it time for a treatment programme?

You should seek help if the medical treatment you are currently receiving for the issue, including any prescribed medication, is inadequate or if your ability to go about your daily life has been compromised for a longer period. A treatment programme will help you to better cope with the impact of your condition and make more intensive forms of care unnecessary. Such a programme will be triggered by a treatment in hospital or by your doctor. Your public health insurance will advise you on how to apply and on the right form of treatment.

If constant monitoring by a doctor is not required, an appropriate facility close to your home can be found, or if you don’t want to be away from your home for a longer period, an outpatient programme may be right for you. An outpatient programme takes place during the daytime close to your home and is limited to 20 treatment days. At the end of a day of therapy, you can immediately use the exercises you learned while continuing to live your daily life in your normal environment. However, for some conditions an outpatient programme may not be effective. In such instances, a patient’s interests are better served if they are away from home for a few weeks – for example, in the case of mental illnesses. In this case, or if outpatient treatment is not possible for other reasons, inpatient treatment at an approved facility may be appropriate. The inpatient treatment can be provided at a facility close to your home or further away. Removed from their daily life, patients can look after their health problem for a typical period of three weeks.

The following applies for both inpatient and outpatient treatment:

– Specialist doctors and therapists provide individual, holistic treatment and advice.

– As a rule, the treatment can be repeated only after a period of four years.

– You can communicate your wishes to your public health insurance about a certain treatment facility, and they will then determine whether these wishes can be taken into account. Your personal life and family situation will also be taken into account.

– The treatment can be extended if medically necessary.

The individual objectives of your treatment programme will be discussed with the doctor treating you, and will then form the basis for a therapy plan in the facility. These objectives may be:

  • Improving your physical stamina (condition)
  • Coping with everyday life
  • Pain relief
  • Improved stress management
  • Learning strategies to manage your condition

Who pays for the treatment programme?

This depends on what the programme is intended to achieve and the circumstances that gave rise to the illness. In many cases, the programme is largely paid by your statutory public health insurance, e.g. the AOK [Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse] – you only pay €10 per day. Did the need for treatment arise from an accident at work or a work-related illness? In this case, the statutory accident insurance scheme is responsible for the costs. If the treatment programme is intended to facilitate a return to work, you should contact your pension scheme. The BNW will be happy to advise you on the available options to support you in getting back to work. This is called ‘individual treatment management’, and we see ourselves as an additional, external support to help you return to work. To assist patients under psychological strain return to work, we help without delay – for example, when a therapeutic intervention cannot be carried out right away. For more information on individual treatment management, please visit: www.bnw-irm.de.

picture: ©istockphoto/Johnny Greig

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