As your parent ages, there is the likelihood that medical treatments, medications, diseases and varying health care providers will increase in number. Many aging individuals could be helped tremendously by a health care advocate. An advocate in this regard can help bring the information together and make sure that all parties are on the same page, minimizing the risk of complications that can result from drug interactions and multiple treatments.
The Steps to Becoming an Advocate for your Parent…
The first step in becoming an advocate is to offer your parent your service. You may have already noticed their increasing agitation or confusion when it comes to physicians and medications, so knowing they have someone on their side to wade through the information, condense it, and make sure everyone is in alignment often comes as a relief.
The second step is to write everything down as you and your parent are currently aware of their medical conditions. This includes a list of any diagnosis, as well as the recommended treatments, and their healthcare team. In addition, make a list of their medications, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements that they are taking. Include the dose and time of day. If they are working with any alternative health care providers such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists or nutritionists, be sure to include them on your notes, along with their treatment procedures.
The third step is to take this list to their pharmacist and ask them to look it over, particularly for any drug interactions that could occur.
The fourth step is to seek clarity. If you are unclear about any of their treatments, medications or diagnosis—or symptoms they may have that are not explained by their current illnesses—make an appointment to speak to the appropriate member of their health care team. And don’t be shy. You may need to, make an appointment for your parent and attend it with them in order to speak with their primary health care providers directly. Some physicians are easier to reach in person than by telephone.
The fifth step is, once you understand the drugs your parent is taking and why in order to implement the use of an automated drug dispenser. These handy machines have all medications separated by day and time and even have an alarm that goes off to remind your parent when it’s time to take their medication. Some even dispense calls to the caregiver should their parent miss a dose.
Home Care Provider
While it’s often best for a family member to take the role of medical advocate, a home care provider can do much to assist your parent with the everyday activities of living. They can remind your parent when it’s time to take their medications and make sure they are taking them in the prescribed fashion: with the appropriate food or beverage, in the correct dose and at the right time of day. If you can’t attend a doctor’s appointment with your parent, a home care provider can take your place—writing down any questions and making sure that all answers are sufficiently covered.
If you are considering homecare in Pittsburgh, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Liken Home Care.
Call (412) 693-6820 or (855) 856-0551