Becoming a Medical Advocate for your Aging Parent

Of the many tasks that a family caregiver is responsible for, making appointments with their aging parent’s health care team and communicating with their doctor and other home health care providers is probably one of the most important. For some, this task comes easy. For others, they have learned to not question a physician or have, in the past, dealt with people in the heath care field that were difficult to communicate with. Whatever the history, now is always a good time to make a fresh start and learn the art of communicating with health care providers and acting as your parent’s advocate.

Home Health Care Canandaigua NY - Becoming a Medical Advocate for your Aging Parent

Home Health Care Canandaigua NY – Becoming a Medical Advocate for your Aging Parent

How to Become your Parent’s Medical Advocate

An advocate is a supporter, someone that champions a cause and speaks out for the better good. At some point in your caregiving, your parent may need such a person to back them up, ask questions, and make sure that all health care providers are on the same page. There are several areas of health care that you will play an important role in.

Medications

Drug-related problems are, unfortunately, very common in the elderly. These include ineffectiveness, adverse side effects, overdosing and drug interactions. Hospitalization rates due to adverse drug effects among elderly people are four times higher than their younger counterparts. They are, however, thought to be preventable in almost 90 percent of the cases.

You can help by keeping a current list of your parent’s medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Document when a new drug is prescribed and make sure the prescribing doctor is aware of all of their current medications. Include what each drug is for, the dose taken and the time of day. Take this list to their pharmacist and ask them to look for any red flags, possible drug interactions, or duplications—medications that appear to be for the same disease and treat the same symptoms.

Appointments

At some point in time, you will need to accompany your parent to their medical appointments. When you do, have a list of questions ready and take notes on the physician’s recommendations. Be sure to keep your parent in the conversation so they do not feel excluded when discussing their health.

Knowledge is Power

If your parent has been diagnosed with a disease or has been placed on a treatment plan, due diligence requires that you research key points about available treatments. For instance, pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that consists of exercises, education and support for those who have lung issues such as COPD. It has proved very useful, though often goes unprescribed. There are also several different types of therapists for those who have suffered from a stroke—and recovery can sometimes occur several years following the initial event. Being aware and keeping yourself educated can help your parent lead the best quality of life possible.

Resources:  http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/geriatrics/drug-therapy-in-the-elderly/drug-related-problems-in-the-elderly
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/doctors-appointments-tips-caregivers

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Canandaigua NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.

John Hunt

John Hunt

I am the owner of Caring Hearts of Rochester, LLC.

At Caring Hearts of Rochester, the well-being and genuine health of others is our greatest concern. We are committed to providing first-class person-centered care and services for our clients and patients so they may enjoy independence and relaxed comfort in their homes or residence of choice.

At Caring Hearts of Rochester, our caregivers are the most significant members of our team. They are devoted to delivering our service commitment to others.

We honor values of honesty, trust, integrity, respect and dedication. Caring Hearts of Rochester promotes a caregiving atmosphere where independence is supported, successes are attained, and a healthy culture of care is offered.

Caring Hearts of Rochester is built on a foundation of core values and dedication to client happiness, quality of life and peace of mind. Our commitment is to service excellence, personal growth, and accountability.

What makes our caregivers different?

Our top priority is excellence in care. So many businesses promise a commitment to excellence but don’t deliver. We believe our clients deserve better.
John Hunt