Acute Cases and Chronic Cases in Primary Care

The primary difference between the treatment of acute and chronic cases in primary care is associated with the nature of the two types of health conditions. Acute issues are characterized by severe symptoms and a considerable threat to patients’ health and life (Burns & Delgado, 2015). Some examples of such conditions include heart attack, broken bones, flu, pneumonia, and many others. Acute cases are also characterized by comparatively short duration as patients recover quite soon.

Chronic illnesses may reveal no or mild symptoms for an extended period (Dick & Buttaro, 2019). Over time, these signs become more visible and can turn into life-threatening and acute cases (Toy et al., 2017). Some examples of these cases include diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and others. It is noteworthy that sometimes the symptoms of acute and chronic conditions may overlap (Shephard et al., 2016). Hence, acute issues require mainly short-term but urgent interventions, while chronic cases need prolonged care.

When treating acute cases, quick decisions are made, and prompt measures are undertaken. Pharmacological methods prevail as it is critical to stabilizing patients (Papadakis et al., 2020). Healthcare professionals develop comprehensive treatment plans when addressing chronic conditions (Dick & Buttaro, 2019). These plans may cover such aspects as pharmacological, psychological, and lifestyle habits.

Healthcare practitioners also pay considerable attention to patient education, helping them develop the necessary self-care skills. In many cases, chronic conditions are incurable, so the focus is on improving patient quality of life. Importantly, prevention is an important element of primary care provision, as many acute and chronic cases can be prevented. Nursing professionals play an important role in educating patients regarding ways to avoid health issues. This kind of patient training is specifically important in geriatric care.


Burns, S. M., & Delgado, S. A. (2015). Acute and critical care nurse practitioner: Cases in diagnostic reasoning. McGraw-Hill Education.

Dick, K., & Buttaro, T. M. (2019). Case studies in geriatric primary care & multimorbidity management. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Papadakis, M. A., McPhee, S. J., & Rabow, M. W. (2020). Current medical diagnosis & treatment. Mcgraw-Hill Professional.

Shephard, E. A., Neal, R. D., Rose, P. W., Walter, F. M., & Hamilton, W. (2016). . British Journal of General Practice, 66(644), e182-e188. Web.

Toy, E. C., Simon, B., Takenaka, K., Liu, T. H., & Rosh, A. J. (2017). Case files emergency medicine (4th ed.). Mcgraw-Hill Professional.

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