In this session of Caregiver Tip Tuesday we look at some simple tips to help you communicate with your loved one's physician.
Navigating the health care system can sometimes be frustrating, and as a caregiver you may find yourself not only looking after your own health care navigation, but also those of your loved one. Understanding how to properly communicate with physicians, and other health care professionals who are involved in your loved one's health, can greatly assist you in your caregiver duties. Here are 3 simple tips to help you better communicate with your loved one's physician.
If you haven't done so already, make an appointment with your loved one's physician to introduce yourself. You may choose to have this meeting with your loved one present or by yourself, after receiving consent from your loved one to do so. This is an opportunity for you to explain your role to the physician and get a better understanding of your loved ones condition and the type of the care they will need now and in the future.
Go to appointments prepared:
In between visits with your loved one's physician, make sure to document important information pertaining to their health. You may want to consider creating a journal where you can document any changes to your loved ones health, behaviour or habits. Documenting this information will assist you in quickly and concisely explaining noticeable progresses or declines to the physician. This ensures that the appointment time is used efficiently and provides the physician with detailed information that will allow him/her to better suggest treatments and therapies that will benefit your loved one.
Develop a "team" mentality:
It's important to remember that your loved one's physician is on your side. They, like you, care about the health of your loved one. (If you feel they do not, then you should consider finding a new physician.) To optimize the communication between you and your loved one's physician view your relationship as a team effort. Work with him/her by reporting any events that have occurred to your loved one, this includes falls or trips to the ER. Be an active participant in the care and provide commentary to the physician on treatments or therapies that you think are working well or not so well. Trust the doctor's recommendations; do not be quick to get defensive or combative if your loved one's physician suggests a treatment or therapy that you do not agree with. If you are concerned with the recommendation consider getting a second opinion from another physician.
Communication is an important skill to master, as it benefits all areas of life, and while the above tips may be directed towards communication with physicians, all good communication boils down to two important things, being able to talk and being able to listen.