What You Need to Know
Communication is Important
- Caregivers who are able to clearly voice their needs and concerns to the health care provider feel more involved and are more confident about their care giving abilities.
- Clear communication between you and your family member's health care provider(s) can help to clarify each other's expectations, goals, and concerns. Also, there may be cultural differences that influence your ideas about care giving as well. Don't hesitate to communicate these to the health care provider.
- Don't feel embarrassed to ask questions – your health care provider has no doubt heard many of these problems before and is more than willing to help.
Caregiving is Teamwork
- The caregiver and the health care provider form a team in providing care. Both have important roles to play. Like the best teams, they work together, knowing what each is expected to do and relying on each other.
- A common scenario occurs after an older family member is discharged from the hospital and their caregiver is given a lot of information about diagnoses and treatments. All this new information can be confusing.
- Even when there hasn't been a hospitalization, caregivers need to deal with medical terms and complicated conditions.
- In situations like these, your family member's health care providers can help you understand what is going on and what to expect with certain illnesses, as well as when to seek medical help and who is available to help.
Sample Questions to Ask
Examples of specific questions include:
- What supports are available for the person with this condition and their caregivers?
- Are there any materials you can recommend to me for information?
- Is there any help I can get with care giving?
- What does it mean to have memory problems?
- What medications have been given and why?
- What are possible side effects of the medications?
- Are the medications safe when taken together?
- What about natural health products and supplements or vitamins?
- When should I call for help?
- What happens if I feel I can no longer do the care giving?
- What can I expect to happen?
- What is a Personal Directive and Power of Attorney?
If you feel like your concerns haven't been met, or have felt too pressed for time, ask for a follow-up appointment to further discuss your questions.