Being a family caregiver is rewarding but extremely difficult work. If you are working as a caregiver for a loved one, you must be prepared for the work, whether paid or unpaid. You should know what to expect going in, as well as what kind of help you can expect. All caregivers need help sometimes. Family can provide extra support, or you can hire sitter services to take care of your loved one while you take a break or fulfill other obligations.
While there are benefits to taking care of an elderly parent, it is crucial to avoid burnout. If you get burned out, you will not take care of your parent to the best of your abilities. It can also cause you to develop physical or mental health issues. So, to be the best caregiver possible, make a plan to take care of yourself as well. Utilize patients’ advocates and other assistive services. This will give your parent the care they need around the clock, while also allowing you to stay healthy as you care for them.
Many millions of Americans need medical care every day, and medical care facilities such as hospitals and physical rehabilitation clinics may have patients with considerable health needs. Today’s American healthcare system involves a network of health insurance companies, hospital admin staff, patient care advocates, life care planning agents, and elder care service professionals, among others. Elder care planning agents or patient care advocates have plenty of work to do, as many elderly Americans have high healthcare needs and may require some professionals to represent them within the healthcare system. A patient care advocate may do just that, and elder care solutions may involve providing caregivers to the client’s residence on a regular basis. How might this work?
Working with Patient Care Advocates
Many more Americans are now elderly than ever before, and the percentage of the American population aged 65 and over is growing. A similar trend is playing out across the developed world, most prominently in Japan (the nation with the world’s highest life expectancy for men and women). In any nation, patient care advocates may represent clients who need extensive and complex medical care, and after all, elderly citizens tend to require more healthcare than younger ones. Many seniors in the United States and abroad live with chronic conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to osteoporosis to arthritis, and they may visit the hospital often and will often have robust medical health insurance policies.
This is where patient care advocate can help out. Keeping up with health insurance bills, rights, care services, and more may be complex and may require more than one person on the job. On behalf of their client, a patient care advocate, for example, may help the patient understand what their health insurance policy does and does not cover, and help their client figure out what they will have to pay and what their insurance will cover. This is the more financial aspect of health care, and any client would want to avoid unnecessary costs or fees. And if the client doesn’t even have health insurance to start with, their patient care advocate may help them work with the healthcare provider’s staff and figure out a fair and workable payment plan for healthcare services received.
The patient care advocate may also explain to the patient their rights within the healthcare system, which includes the right to leave the hospital AMA, or “against medical advice.” The patient may have the right to do this and seek out medical care elsewhere or cease all medical care if they so choose, and the patient care advocate will outline when and why their client should or shouldn’t exercise this right. What is more, the v may also coordinate all of these details and more with their client’s family, explaining to them what medical procedures are taking place and why, and what it will cost for the family. The patient care advocate will also coordinate with the family in terms of post-hospital care at home, such as making a house safe for a returning patient with Alzheimer’s, a physical disability, or very low energy levels.
Preparing the House
A patient probably won’t stay in the hospital for the rest of their lives (though that may happen). Many patients will return home, but they may have some particular needs when they get back. A patient care advocate may help coordinate with the family to get everything ready, which may range from rearranging furniture or rooms to preparing meals or appointing people to help with chores. If a returning patient has trouble with stairs, their bedroom may be moved from an upper floor to the ground floor, for example, for ease of access. The patient may have very low energy levels or a physical disability, making some chores or self-care difficult to do alone. Caregivers may do anything from pre-preparing meals and putting them in the fridge or freezer for convenience all the way to household chores such as pet care, garden care, grocery shopping, washing dishes, and more. In the case of an Alzheimer’s patient, their physical clumsiness should be accounted for. Sharp and flame-producing items can be locked away in drawers (locks can be installed if need be), and tripping hazards such as rugs or electrical cords can be cleared away.