By Lee Nyberg of Home Care Assistance of Nebraska
When a loved senior is hospitalized, family members and caregivers are stressed and worried, too. The senior’s care can be greatly improved when the family and caregivers become part of the care team. The list below contains some useful tips by Lincoln Senior Care for those who act and speak on behalf of the hospitalized senior.
1. Make sure all legal documents are in place
This includes Advanced Medical Directives and a durable power of attorney (DPOA) designation for health care. The first informs all family members and physicians of the type of medical treatment and care the senior wishes to receive if they are unable to make their own decisions at that time. An example of this is a “Do Not Resuscitate” order or a living will. The DPOA, also known as a health care proxy, is the individual appointed by the senior to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so. Each of these documents must be signed. Both family members and physicians should have copies.
2. Make sure you are able to provide all medical information when asked
Medical history is an important part of treatment plans, so you want to make sure you know all there is to know, including 5 to 10 years of the senior’s medical events, current and recent medications, allergies, current physicians and a description of the senior’s current mental and physical capacities.
3. Be as active as possible
This requires the family member to be part of the health care team. Learn how to get in touch with the physician providing care, know the nurses who are caring for the senior, determine how to speak with social service workers and case managers and be a strong advocate for the medical care of the senior. Request copies of physician’s orders and write new information down as soon as you are informed. Communicate changes in orders and medication to nurses on a regular basis, since the nurses change with shifts. Double-check your copies of orders before any technician performs a test or procedure, since mistakes are sometimes made.To the extent possible, have a family representative with the senior at all times.
Home Care Assistance was founded to serve as a comprehensive alternative to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Our constant mission to provide the highest quality, most reliable home care service. The ultimate benefit of our service lies in the unique features we bring to our clients. In addition to not requiring a long-term contract for services and remaining on-call 24 hours a day, we are proud to have a distinguished reputation for high-caliber caregivers. Since the beginning, our vision has been clear: hire only the best caregivers and expertly match them with our clients.
For more information, please call 402-261-5158 or www.homecareassistancelincoln.com.
Lee Nyberg is Director of Marketing for Home Care Assistance of Nebraska.