Patient education takes on a whole new tilt when you realize that your patients may not be able to complete their treatment plan due to a 6 month ship deployment. They need to be able to take care of many of their issues on their own or at least be able to cope.
I took a tour of one of our destroyers today so that I could examine the quarters and health care facilities aboard. I wanted to know what they had to work with so that I could tailor home care to what they had. The tour opened my eyes. They really don’t have much to work with. What is effectively their bedroom is 6 ft long 2 ft tall and 2 ft deep. They have 6 cardio machines and one set of free weights for 280 people. There is no place to run or even to stretch. They are on their ship for the duration. The conditions are hard, and not only do they not complain, but they still manage to pass their rigorous fitness testing required by the Navy and more. I spoke with a few that during this down time even ran a half marathon. These are amazing men and women.
The sailors do not usually have doctors that deploy with them on their ship. Instead they have an independent duty corpsmen. Kind of like an advanced medic. They have some training, but they are doing the best they can with what they have. I hope to be able to give them a few more tools to work with and with some creative thinking come up with some ways to improve health in the Navy.