Chronic care refers to medical care which addresses pre-existing or long term illness, as opposed to acute care which is concerned with short term or severe illness of brief duration.
Chronic medical conditions include asthma, diabetes, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, congestive heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, hypertension and depression. Without effective treatment chronic conditions may lead to disability.
The incidence of chronic disease has increased as mortality rates have decreased.
Conditions, injuries and diseases which were previously fatal can now be treated with chronic care. Chronic care aims to maintain wellness by keeping symptoms in remission while balancing treatment regimes and quality of life.
Many of the core functions of primary health care are central to chronic care. Chronic care is complex in nature because it may extend over a pro-longed period of time, requires input from a diverse set of health professionals, various medications and possibly monitoring equipment.