Realize (formerly the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation) has recently launched a new section on our web site, called ‘Consumer Information’, which brings together all of our resources which are focused on assisting people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities to navigate the challenges of living with a chronic illness.  These resources are divided into three categories: Rehabilitation; Work and Income; and Aging.

 
Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation can make a difference – by helping people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities to remain healthy; participate in the workforce or other activities; and be actively involved in their communities.  From decreasing pain to making shopping easier, rehabilitation has a role to play. Among other documents, this section contains a comprehensive resource called: “Rehab can help you do that: A guide to how rehabilitation services can help you deal with your HIV related challenges and live the life you want“. This guide can help you manage a new symptom or health-related challenge, understand how a rehab professional could contribute to your care and gives you the information which you need to discuss rehabilitation with your primary care physician.  This guide can be accessed at http://rehabcanhelp.hivandrehab.ca/ .

Work and Income: Recurring or unpredictable periods of ill health make it difficult to work, especially full time, so many people with HIV or other episodic disabilities must rely on health and disability benefits. Due to the strict definitions and rules that govern these benefit programs, many people are not able to participate in the workforce part-time or when their health allows. The resources in this section provide information on how to maintain good overall health and quality of life related to work and income security.  These resources include, for example, Fact Sheets on: Accommodation in the Workplace; Flexible Work Options; and the rules around Sick Leave across the country.

Aging: Everyone living with HIV and other episodic disabilities, whether young or old, is aging.  Aging increases the chances that you live with multiple chronic health conditions which cause disability and need to be managed at the same time.  Among those who are older, some have been living with illness long-term, while others have received their diagnosis more recently. The resources in this section provide information on how to maintain good overall health and quality of life while aging with HIV and other chronic health conditions. These resources include, for example: a Fact Sheet on Polypharmacy (how to manage the many medications you are taking); an Environmental Scan of Programs and Services meeting the needs of people aging with HIV in Canada; and a series of Fact Sheets on Aging with HIV in Canada.

To access this information and much more, please visit the Realize web site at http://www.realizecanada.org/en/

By Stephen Tattle

Stephen Tattle RN, MSc Realize (formerly the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation)