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Patients

Kight's Medical wants to supply our patients and caregivers with as much help and support possible. Please reference these tips provided to help with any subject regarding your loved one, doctors, and yourself.

10 Tips for Family Caregivers

1. Care giving is a job and resting is your right. Reward yourself and rest often.
2. Take caution with signs of depression. Don’t delay in getting professional help when needed.
3. Accept help when offered; also suggest specific things that they can do to make things clear and truly helpful.
4. Inform yourself about aspects of your loved one's condition and how to communicate effectively with doctors.
5. Always be open to technologies and ideas that promote your loved one's independence.
6. Trust your instincts.
7. Pay attention to your own body, caregivers often do a lot of lifting, pushing, and pulling. Be careful not to injure yourself.
8. Grieve for your losses, and then allow yourself to dream new dreams.
9. Seek support from other caregivers, you are not alone.
10. Stand up for your rights as a caregiver and a citizen.

Tips when speaking with a Doctor

  •  Writing down questions is a great suggestion as to not forget them later on, but also remain focused and organized.
  • Be clear about what you want to say to the doctor.
  • If there are a big group of questions, make a consultation appointment. This will make it easier for the doctor to allow enough time to meet with you and answer questions.
  • Try to understand to the best of your ability the disease or disability your loved ones has.
  • Learn the routine at your doctor’s office and/or the hospital so you can make the system work for you, not against you.
  • Recognize that not all questions have answers—especially those beginning with “why.”
  • Work to separate your anger and sense of impotence about not being able to help your loved one as much as you would like from your feeling about the doctor. You and the doctor are on the same side.
  • Say thank you from time to time. Appreciate what the doctor is doing to help. 
     

Tips on what to ask your Healthcare Providers

General Questions:

  • What might have caused this illness?
  • Is this illness likely to go away on its own?
  • Is the pain likely to diminish or go away?
  • How do you want to treat this illness?
  • What are other ways to treat this illness?
  • What are the risks with these treatments?
  • What is the likely future of this illness with the recommended treatment?
  • Without the recommended treatment?
  • What is the time frame for the treatment?
  • Is a hospital stay necessary?
  • What is the expected recovery time?

Tests and Procedure Questions:

  • Is the recommended test or procedure necessary to confirm or disprove a diagnosis?
  • Will the findings of the test change the way the disease is managed?
  • What are the risks involved?
  • How expensive is the test and will it be covered by insurance?
  • Will the test require a change in any of the medications my care recipient is taking?
  • What are the chances of inaccurate test results?
  • What is the test procedure?
  • How will the test feel? Will it be painful?
  • How should I prepare for this test?
  • Would I need help getting home afterward?
  • Who will interpret the test results?
  • Will someone call with the test results or should I phone for them?
  • Can test results be sent directly to me? 

Doctor’s Office Questions: 

  • What days/hours is the office open?
  • How are medical emergencies handled?
  • When is the best contact information for the doctor- (include phone, fax, and email)?
  • Which method of communication does the doctor prefer?
  • Who can answer questions if the doctor is not available?
  • Who can I call after hours or when the doctor is away?
     

Costs of Care Questions:  

  • What private insurance plans do you accept?
  • Do you accept Medicaid/Medicare assignments?
  • What costs are covered by Medicaid/Medicare or Supplemental insurance?
  • What costs are not covered by insurance?
  • Approximately how much can I expect to pay in the long run for treatment?  

Tips for Care Management

Become your Own care Coordinator

  • Gather information from healthcare providers
  • Make an assessment of your care recipient and the home environment
  • Research into available public and/or private services and resources to meet your loved one’s needs
  • Keep ongoing communication between all parties to keep information up-to-date and services appropriate and effective.

Educate yourself

Reliable information is available from the health agencies that deal with your loved one's condition. When researching on the Internet, stick with well-known medical sites. Educating yourself will provide you with the core knowledge you need to go forward and will help better advocate when talking with healthcare professionals.

Write down your observations of the present situation including:

  • Your loved one’s ability to function independently, both physically and mentally.
  • The availability of family and/or friends to form a support network to share the care.
  • The physical environment: Is it accessible or can it be adapted at reasonable cost?
  • Your other responsibilities — at work, at home, and in the community.
  • Your own health and physical abilities.
  • Your financial resources, available insurance, and existence of healthcare or end-of-life documents.

This assessment will help you come to a realistic view of the situation. It will let you know the questions to which you need answers. It can be a handy baseline for charting your caregiving journey and reminding you just how much you've learned along the way.

Hold a family conference

Usually only for immediate family , a meeting can set the stage for splitting up responsibilities so that there are fewer misunderstandings when a lot of help may be needed in the future.. A family meeting is a good way to let everyone know they can play a role and keep them informed on what is going on, even if they are a thousand miles away. It can help you, the primary family caregiver, from bearing the brunt of all the work all of the time.

Keep good records

Not only of the observations, but of emergency numbers, doctors, daily medications, special diets, back-up people, and other pertinent information relating to your loved one's care. Update as necessary. This record will be vital if something happens to you, or if you need to make a trip to the ER. If you can maintain a computer-based record, that will make updating all that much easier and it might even allow you to provide the medical team with direct access to the information.

Join a support group

Knowing you are not alone can take some pressure off, as well as being able to discuss the challenges that you face to others that are going through the same situation. It gives you additional emotional support and can give you helpful tips that you may have been struggling with.

Start advance planning for difficult decisions

It's never too early to discuss wills, advance directives, and powers of attorney, but there comes a time when it is too late. It is also vital that you and your loved one think through what to do if you should be incapacitated, or, if you pass away first. Always be prepared.

Develop a care team

Establish specific people in emergencies or over time cases if your situation is very difficult. Develop this team with certain people you know without a doubt you can call on. The critical thing is to be willing to tell others what you need and to accept their help.

Establish a family schedule

When things are difficult to begin with, keeping a straightforward daily routine can be a stabilizer, especially for people who find change upsetting and confusing.

Approach some of your hardest care giving duties like a professional

Your family role and care giving role are two different things; in time you will be able to distance these two roles. It is difficult to lock your emotions up in a box while you focus on practical chores and decisions, but it is not impossible. It requires an almost single-minded approach to getting the job at hand done as efficiently and effectively as possible. It takes practice, but is definitely worth the effort.