Senior Caregiver Responsibilities

Doctors, caregivers, and the person receiving care all have one thing in common: they see each other quite often. When a caregiver is caring for a loved one, it is necessary to take the senior to see their doctor for many reasons. As we age, we require more medical assistance due to illnesses, diseases, or common check-ups. It is often the caregiver’s responsibility to take their loved one to see a physician. If your loved one is receiving home healthcare or homecare, it is a good idea for the caregiver to be present as often as possible during physician visits. Sometimes, it may be necessary for the senior caregiver to take their loved one to see a specialist with the proper training and skills to assess certain illnesses or serious conditions.

If you are caring for a loved one in a senior care facility, you may want to take your loved ones to their doctor visits to ensure the proper treatment, to understand what needs to be done, and to help your loved one. Often, a care facility will offer a service which will take your loved one to the doctors and bring them back to the facility. There are also many individual companies available to help you with medical transportation to doctor visits.

There are a few things the caregiver should pay attention to when taking their loved one to a physician. Be prepared! Take a list of questions you need to ask the physician. Have a clear vision on what you need answered, this will help with the overall experience. Any answers that could not be answered should be asked by calling the hospital’s library or a health resource center in order to find out the answer. Have a list of symptoms that your loved one is experiencing written down clearly and be prepared to tell the physician. Have the patients family history readily available and make sure it is up-to-date. Have enough cash or a credit care if insurance or Medicare does not pay for treatments or the visit. You can call ahead of time and review this with the medical staff at the doctor’s office.

When arriving at the doctor’s office tell the doctor what you expect from the visit and ask for any recommendations on treatments or care. Be aware that the doctor may ask you to do something you may not be capable of doing for your loved one, in this case, tell the doctor why you cannot do the task and ask the doctor for another treatment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: ask what options there are, what treatments are available, and what the risks/benefits are, with respects to the doctors time (have another visit if you need more time to discuss issues with the doctor). Keep an open communication with the physician to ensure a productive visit. Work with the doctor on what your loved one wants, and get a second opinion if you believe that the doctor’s suggestions are not appropriate for the level of care your loved one needs. If the doctor does not seem to be kind, friendly, or what you were expecting; it is okay to find another physician.

There are specific questions you will need to ask the doctor about treatments and tests. Prior to getting tests done, ask the doctor why the test is needed, how much does it cost, is it necessary, how long the test will take, how soon the results will be in, how accurate the test is, and is it painful. You may also want to ask if there are any risks with the tests or treatments. Make sure to find out if there are side effects, what they are, how long do they last, and how long does it take to witness any serious effects. If the doctor is requesting X-Rays, ask why they are needed, and if they are necessary, as many times they are just a precautionary test. When receiving the test results make sure to either have the physician explain the results in detail, or have literature explaining what the results mean. Always make a copy of the reports, test results, and any other documents for your loved one’s records.

Before your loved one receives medication, make sure to understand the perimeters of the medication fully before dispersing them to your loved one. Make sure to give the list of medications, herbal drugs, or alcohol/tobacco/drugs your loved one is taking now to the doctor, also have a copy for the pharmacist to look at when you are filling the medication for assurance. It is important to tell the doctor and pharmacist what allergies to medicine your loved one has. Find out how the medication will help your loved one and ask how long it takes for the medication to work. Finding out side effects will help you when caring for your loved one. Ask if there is a generic version of the medication or find the lowest cost for that medications, also to keep costs down, ask if a higher dose can be prescribed then cut the pill in half etc. Buying the medication for a trial, or getting a free sample from the doctor, can be beneficial to you and your loved one because it will allow you to see if they can handle the drug and to see if there are any side effects.

When caring for your loved one, it is important to be there during the doctor’s visit to assess the situation, to help maintain records, and to help administer treatment correctly to your loved one. The doctor will work with you, therefore, ask questions, get answers, and be informed about the care that is needed for your loved one’s well being.

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