Once a family member becomes ill, we seem to go into a reactive mode instead of proactive mode. Much of this stems from our avoidance . . . we just don’t want to face the fact that a loved one is “really” ill. That is why it’s so important to have a third party option that you trust.
We at Parent Your Parents are fans of Patient Advocates or Health Care Advisors. These are professionals who advocate for you – the patient and the family. They will educate you about your issue/illness and discuss your treatment options. Although some patient advocates are not health care professionals (only certified) we suggest Patient Advocates who are health care professionals.
Often our seniors go to the doctors and are shuttled from test to test (because medicare pays for them) and, depending on the doctor, are told the best “solution”. Often these solutions require more medication or surgeries and another stay in a hospital or rehab center. A Patient Advocate can review the records, nurses notes and question the doctor and offer other solutions.
One example, a knee replacement that becomes infected. In a case like this 90% require a second surgery and an extended course of IV antibiotics. However, only the surgery must be done in the hospital. After two days the patient can leave and have in-home care. Yes, a COMPETENT, aide will be necessary but the physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) can be AT HOME. The doctor has to prescribe the physical therapy and occupational therapy but Medicare pays for most of it.
Seniors are almost always told that hospital and rehab are the only option What they’re not told is their cognitive function will most likely be impaired during their stay. Imagine, those machines going off in the middle of he night, constant noise, people walking in and out – who wouldn’t be disoriented. The bad news is upon release from the hospital the cognitive impairment stays — they will get better slowly but rarely reach the pre-hospital cognitive function.
To most of us, our home is our sanctuary. We’re in our environment with people we know. Yes, you’ll need competent in-home care, usually for 24 hours for the first few days but there are excellent services who provide this – you simply need to know who they are (we at PYP do).
So here is the bottom line when something “medically bad” happens:
- Always search for alternative answers (Patient Advocates will assist)
- Question the Diagnosis (Doctors are only human and you’re one of many patients)
- Make a Hospital the stay of last resort
- Remember In-Home Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy is available and Medicare pays for most of it
- And for the first few days 24 In-Home Care is almost always a must
If you have further questions, thoughts or criticisms feel free to reach out – firstname.lastname@example.org