The oft-unsung heroes of elderly care are the family caregivers who donate their time and energy without pay to attend to the needs of their older relatives. For the most part, medical providers are understanding and thankful of the caregiver’s role in their loved one’s healthcare. A recent AARP survey revealed that over 75% of physicians and at least 65% of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants expect family caregivers to have a significant role in their relative’s healthcare and to work closely with their loved one’s medical care team.
However, working with caregivers can be tricky for medical providers without proper communication between the provider, caregiver, and patient. Sometimes, multiple caregivers are involved leaving the medical provider unsure of who to communicate with regarding the patient’s healthcare decisions. This often causes additional stress on the medical provider in their efforts to give proper care to the patient, and it can cause lead to family drama if the caregivers have differing opinions on how to proceed with their loved one’s care.
In other instances, the patient is still of sound mind and wishes to make their own decisions…but their wishes don’t exactly fit what’s best for them and their caregivers. In our research for this article, we came across a familiar tale of an elderly patient, his physician, and his daughter and sole caregiver. The patient’s physician had noticed for a while that the patient’s daughter was tired and possibly depressed. The physician suggested respite care so the daughter could get a break and some resemblance of a personal life back. But the patient wasn’t hearing any of it. They didn’t see the need for respite care or the toll caregiving was taking on their daughter. They also forbade the physician from mentioning the topic to the daughter. The physician then had to weigh whether the patient’s wishes outweighed the overall needs of all involved.
How the Caregiver can Help the Medical Provider
Families can keep their relative’s medical care running smoothly by viewing themselves as a partner with their loved one’s provider. To keep communication clear and simple if you have more than one caregiver in the family, choose one representative to discuss care concerns and decisions with your loved one’s provider. Decide as your loved one’s caregiving team who will pick up the reins in making healthcare decisions and who will assist in other areas.
If your loved one is of sound mind, sit down with them and other family members to discuss decisions like respite care and layout your expectations and limitations as a caregiver. This will keep managing the patient’s healthcare much easier for both the caregiver and the medical provider.
How the Medical Provider can Help the Caregiver
In addition to caring for the patient’s health, medical providers should also ensure the caregiver’s and family’s needs are not being neglected. Though the patient’s needs are always first, sometimes even the most sound-minded patient can be blind to certain needs, like the patient who couldn’t see his daughter’s need for help in caring for him. When the caregiver is burned out, the patient’s needs could be neglected or the patient could be placed in a long-term care facility.
Looking for a primary care provider for your loved one conveniently located near your home? EliteCare is Guntown and its surrounding area’s premier medical care provider. We offer treatment management for a number of conditions including high blood pressure and diabetes. Dial 662-348-3342 to learn more about our services and to schedule your relative’s appointment.