When you are caring for a parent it is important to keep in regular contact with the medical community. Talking regularly with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and social workers is critical in making the best decisions you can. Not only will this help you to get results, but it also will give you peace of mind. Talking with healthcare professionals comes down to three things.
1. Giving them all pertinent information about your parent so they can make an informed medical opinion.
2. Asking the right questions to get the information and answers to any questions you or your parent has, this will help you when it comes time to make decisions.
3. Getting the information, services and the quality of care your parent deserves.
While you may want to know everything about your parent’s health condition, they may be reluctant to tell you everything you want to know. It’s important that you respect their decision in regards to how much information they are willing to share with you or how willing they are to communicate with their doctor or nurses. All you can do is inform them of the importance of communicating in regards to their health, and that your main concern is they receive both safe and effective care.
If your parent is hesitant to talk to the doctor, but is open with you, you can, with your parents permission talk to the doctor or nurse yourself. If you are the one to talk to the doctor make sure you ask questions. Write any questions you have on paper before hand. This way you won’t forget to ask anything important. It is just as important to receive information from the doctor as it is to give information to the doctor. The doctor needs all relevant information about your parent in order to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the proper treatment that is both safe and effective.
In addition to doctors, it’s important that both you and your parent talk to other health care professionals such as nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and dietitians.
Nurses are trained in patient education and counseling. A nurse can explain the doctor’s diagnosis and teach you how to follow any treatment required, take blood pressure at home, and how to give injections.
Pharmacists are experts in drugs. They are there to answer any questions you may have regarding the medication the doctor has prescribed. They will inform you of any side effects to watch for and how to use the medication properly.
Social Workers are available to help you navigate the social security system and the medical care. If there are programs available to help you, a social worker will direct you in that direction.
Dietitians are available to provide information on meal planning. Certain medical conditions require a special diet and a dietitian can help you set up the proper diet for your needs.
As a caregiver you are now also your parents advocate. While the medical profession has the medical expertise, the quality of service and attention are not always there, so you have to take an active role in getting the best service possible.