Chronic illness is currently the main cause of illness, disability and death in Australia…

Chronic illness is currently the main cause of illness, disability and death in Australia (Change & Johnson, 2018). Chronic illnesses are long lasting with persistent effects, the illnesses are not acquired by transmission, however, they share common lifestyle related impacts (Change & Johnson, 2018). Firstly, this assignment will explain and define what stigma is. Secondly, this assignment will further analyse the impact of stigma including the social hardship, isolation and stress an individual with a chronic illness endures. Lastly, this assignment will outline strategies in which the nurses can utilise to alleviate the impact of stigma on individuals with chronic illnesses. This involves person-centered care, education and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Our society has been continuously found to hold negative views towards individuals with chronic illnesses (Nabors & Warman, 2014). Stigma refers to defining people as abnormal or unusual due to not fitting in or meeting the expected norm (Change & Johnson, 2018). Individuals are rejected, discriminated against and excluded from society (Elder, Evans & Nizette, 2013). Therefore, individuals with chronic illnesses may keep their illness as a secret or attempt to hide it from society in order to pass as being ‘normal’ (Elder, Evans & Nizette, 2013). For example, the stigma surrounding an individual with depression are ‘weak’ and ‘lazy’, whereas individuals with diabetes may be labelled as ‘the diabetic patient’ or a person suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may be stereotyped as being ‘old patients” (Change & Johnson, 2018). This highlights that stigma can involve both labelling or stereotyping. Labelling involves naming the individual and their identified group as different or problematic whereas stereotyping involves categorising individuals by a set of beliefs about the characteristics of the group (Change & Johnson, 2018). In conclusion, defining and understanding what stigma is helps recognize and acknowledge the impact it can cause on the individual.