…does your head spin trying to figure out who is visiting your parent after a hospitalization? Does Dad tell you that a therapist visited but you had no idea he even needed one? Does one therapist or nurse talk to the others about the needs of your parent? And, oh yes, how about updating you on when they will discontinue services – do they tell you what the options to continue to make a complete recovery are?
“My-oh-my” my head is spinning trying to hold the ball in Mom’s care. Mom had a stroke – her short term memory has been affected and I told her not to worry, that I would be her memory for short-term items like appointments or changes in medications. Thank God her long-term memory is good and she is adjusting to her deficits better than I expected.
When I do talk to these caring and competent health care providers, they are on top of their skills and what they are doing with mom is appropriate but, if I don’t call them, I am left out of the communications. Then there is a possibility that another nurse or therapist filled in on the last visit and they have not talked with one another or looked at their laptop to see what is being forecasted.
As family members, my suggestion is to call each therapist or nurse who visits prior to services and, if possible, ask that they call you after each visit. In my case, they have all three of my phone numbers and I will return calls immediately if I am not in a meeting or session with a client.
Mom is on a blood thinner so she doesn’t have another stroke and, now in the beginning of this therapy, we need frequent blood draws and changes in medications. Was her blood drawn last week? Was her medication changed? What was her pro-time (blood thinning number that should be in a therapeutic range)? All questions family advocates and/or Professional Geriatric Care Managers need to know in order to stay on top of preventing another stroke or a “bleed”. This is a very important process to follow and truly not that hard if those who do these activities communicate clearly to the client, family or provider of care.
I guess this is just another lesson that the key to good health care is “communication, communication and communication”.
Ask questions and expect to be updated frequently.