This article is part two of a three part series that will help you step into an advocacy role, feel more confident about your role as a caregiver, and communicate effectively with medical professionals. These tips and actions are practical and provide real life advice to help you navigate through the countless tests, doctors, nurses, therapists, medicines and other medical professionals and new terminology. Moving forward, accept that you have a steep learning curve and apply yourself persistently.
Part 2: Communication and Collaboration with other caregivers; professional staff
Express confidence when advocating for yourself or your loved one. Now is not the time to be shy. You will need to make yourself heard when speaking to the medical practitioners. Speak up when you feel there is an issue you’d like to discuss with the doctors or nurses.
Ask questions. Learn as much as you can about the diagnosis, any procedures, recommended medications, and the prognosis or expected outcome. Medical terminology and hospitals are foreign to many people. You must learn new terminology and new concepts.
Keep track of the name, title, and contact information for the health professionals that are treating the patient. You will meet many new physicians, therapists, and nurses.
Write their names and contact information in a journal, such as The Caregiver’s Journal, or simply a notepad. This gives you a way to contact them if needed or if another medical professional asks. It’s also easier to track and share details of specific conversations when you know the person’s name and title.
Realize it’s always best to have an extra set of hands, a pair of eyes and a loving heart in the room with the patient. This is true whether it’s due to emotional or physical reasons
Be aware that occasionally a doctor who did not request a certain test procedure will overlook vital information regarding the patient’s condition. The numerous doctors must have all the information to diagnose properly. Mentioning results of a new test or procedure to a doctor who may not be aware of it is entirely appropriate.
Stay tuned for our next article: Tips for control and confidence of one’s own emotions
Marie Gibson is an author and speaker who advises caregivers on how family members can become crucial advocates for their hospitalized family member, and who also leads employee training at health care institutions. She is author of The Caregiver’s Journal and Peace of Mind for Caring Hearts and Helping Hands.
Using an organizational tracking tool like The Caregiver’s Journal will provide greater clarity in comforting your patient, communicating and collaborating for their health with the medical professionals and you will have more confidence and control of your own emotions.