No quick courses can give you the knowledge and resources of an experienced geriatric care manager, but the following tips may help you better coordinate care:
- Get organized. File accumulating paperwork under key topics: medical care, benefits, resources, assisted living, nursing homes, and so on.
- Have the patient's medical history and medications list handy. Keep these in a binder in which you log conversations -- to whom you spoke, when, and what was suggested. Highlight steps that you'll handle yourself or will dole out to others.
- Coordinate medical care. Ideally, one doctor should do this, but it may be up to you to keep everyone in the loop. Each doctor should know what the others suggest and what medications the patient is taking.
- Ask until you have answers. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask for simpler explanations, a breakdown of the risks and benefits of a particular treatment, or a second opinion.
- Be polite, but insistent. If medical personnel or answers are elusive, keep pressing your case. Ask for the best times to call, but call more frequently if necessary. Leave messages everywhere. Be friendly to those who answer the phone so they will assist you, too.
- Be informed. Gathering basic information through reputable Internet sites, national organizations, and other sources can help prepare you for challenging decisions.
- Be present. At the hospital, it helps to have an extra set of eyes and hands whenever possible. Perform simple tasks yourself -- helping the person eat, attending to comfort, wiping up spills, and so on. Tell staff if you notice confused or erratic behavior. Sometimes medications, dehydration, pain, and the stresses of surgery or hospitalization trigger delirium or agitation, especially in older people.
- Network. Finding good nursing or home care -- or a good nursing home -- requires persistence. Press social workers, doctors, nurses, friends, family members, co-workers, and acquaintances for their advice. Whenever possible, visit any place being considered or interview candidates.
No quick courses can give you the knowledge and resources of an
experienced geriatric care manager, but the following tips may help
you better coordinate care: Get organized. File accumulating
paperwork under key topics: medical care, benefits,... More