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Dealing With Doctors

The role of caregiver comes with some daunting responsibilities and challenges, including becoming an advocate during appointments with your loved one’s care team. Being able to communicate changes in health and understand care plans can help ensure that good care is delivered promptly. Unfortunately, there can be a breakdown in communication between caregivers and healthcare providers, but there are six simple tips you can implement to take the stress out of doctor’s appointments.

1. Plan Ahead

Have a list of questions and concerns that you and your family have. Bring this to the appointment to ensure that nothing is forgotten. Include details regarding changes in behavior, side effects, routines and anything else that you feel the doctor needs to know.

2. Ask Questions

It can be easy to get lost in the medical jargon that gets used in appointments. Be sure to ask questions if there is something you don’t understand regarding your loved one’s care plan. Before you leave, summarize your understanding of the situation with your loved one’s doctor, including any changes in care, possible side effects, medication interactions, and things to look for. If questions arise between appointments, call the provider or write them down so that you can ask at the next appointment.

3. Develop a Relationship with Your Care Team

Introduce yourself to everybody involved in your loved one’s care and explain the role you play at home. Inform doctors of other providers that you see regularly, as well as any social workers that may be assisting you. Ensure that all providers have the most recent copies of test results and medication lists.

4. Keep Good Records

Have a place that you keep all medical records for you loved one, and make sure that others in the family are able to locate the information in an emergency. Keep an accurate medication list, recent test results, and a copy of your plan of care readily available. You should also have a list of upcoming appointments available should you need assistance.

5. Ask About Cutting Costs

Prescription drugs can be expensive, as can medical equipment that your loved one may need. Speak with your loved one’s doctor about generic prescriptions in lieu of name brand. You can also speak with drug companies directly to find savings. If you are in need of medical equipment, ask about loaner closets in your area.

6. Involve Your Loved One

It can be difficult for your loved one to take a back seat in their own care. Involve them in decision making as much as possible. Ask them if there is anything they would like to know, need clarification on, or feel nervous about.

Sometimes, we find ourselves thrust into the role of caregiver when a loved one is disabled, falls ill or experiences issues related to aging. To help caregivers find the assistance they need, FSL offers educational presentations such as Self-Care Tips for Caregivers, Caregiving Techniques and Demonstrations, How to Plan for Care, and Avoiding Scams, Fraud and Abuse. If you are part of a group that would be interested in scheduling a seminar, please contact Nydia Montijo at 602-285-0505 ext. 153. We would also be happy to give you a tour of our Caregiver House, along with demonstrations of any equipment that may make caregiving easier for you.