Mary Alexander: Hi! I'm Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. Today, I'm talking about how to help your parents have good communications with their healthcare providers.
Right now, we're going to talk about why good communication is so important and how to make it happen. As our parents age and have increasing health problems there is the likelihood that they will have more than one doctor or medical practitioner in their life.
A primary care physician maybe the quarterback of your parent's general care, but it is likely other team members or specialists who will play a part in managing their health. The team members don't all have to be doctors either. You should look at your parent's medical team as one that includes anyone related to their healthcare such as physical therapist, eye doctors, mental health counselors, pharmacists, chiropractors, and acupunctures.
For your parents having so many healthcare providers can be confusing and overwhelming, remembering to follow all of their different instructions or making sure they all know what each other is prescribing might be more than your parent can manage. Volunteering to step in and offering help and support maybe just what your parent needs in order to maintain or improve their health. When you enquire to see if help is needed, you can offer a few solid reasons for why your support might help with communications. Let's talk about those.
The first benefit to improving communication is reduced repeat visits. Oftentimes, seniors will go back to the doctor or visit several doctors for the same issue, because they forgot to mention something before such as a symptom or a new medication prescribed by another healthcare provider. By being prepared for visits they can likely get the treatment right the first time.
Second, by going in armed with all of their medical details, they can help avoid medical errors which could not only make them sicker, but jeopardize their lives. It's not just visits to the doctor that they need to be diligent about. When going to the pharmacy, especially if they use more than one pharmacy, it's important that your parents have all of their details of their medications as well as over-the-counter drugs to avoid potentially life threatening drugs interactions.
Seniors also start hard to maintain their independence. By helping your parents have better communications with their healthcare providers they can really become active partners in managing their own health. It can also give them the confidence they need to ask for more information and discuss the risks and benefits of treatment options.
By helping your parents with these important communications they are more likely to understand their medical conditions enabling them to follow through on their treatment plans and reducing the risk and finding support from other people in similar situations.
In the end, good healthcare communications means your parents can maintain some of the independence they desire. That's great for both them and you as the family caregiver. Playing an active role in helping to manage your parent's healthcare communications also means making sure they have all of the forms and documentation that is needed, should a healthcare crisisarise. We'll talk about those forms in the next video.