Care Seeker Resources

A collection of resources to help you navigate the care continuum.

By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Press Release  |  On: November 15, 2016

Carelike, LLC. leads change in senior care referral industry

Carelike differentiates from its competitors by giving care seekers access and transparency to all providers in their area, not just those who pay for a profile. Carelike displays all available information, truly giving families the power of choice and the ability to make informed decisions.

Carelike, LLC. leads change in senior care referral industry

Media contact:
Stephanie F. Jackson
Carelike, LLC.
Tele: (404) 250-8370

ATLANTA, GA. (November 15, 2016) -- As many Americans (especially baby boomers) are discovering, finding the perfect care service for a senior loved one is challenging. Per data from a 2015 AARP report, approximately 43.5 million adults provided unpaid elder care, mainly to relatives. This number only stands to grow as baby boomers age, and Carelike has come up with a solution.

With most senior-placement companies, care seekers use online or call-in services to find an assisted living community or home health aide for their loved one. However, they only get information from a small, select number of providers who have a contract to be listed on that referral company's website. This means care seekers miss out on many providers who might more closely fit their needs, have more esteemed credentials or elicited better patient reviews.

The senior care referral industry has been around for years, and so has Carelike (previously SNAPforSeniors). The organization is well-connected and has the experience and expertise required to drive a much-needed change to the industry. Their business model has always put the care-seeker first. Everyone who is a licensed senior care professional - not just those who "pay to play" - shows up in Carelike's comprehensive database of providers. This is because Carelike pulls from 400 different sources to gather data on senior and post-acute care providers. The organization then goes to great lengths to clean, filter and augment the data to give care seekers the most up-to-date and accurate picture of each provider.

This methodology has made Carelike the preferred partner for organizations who help consumers find care, which include renowned health organizations, health insurance companies, care management companies, EAPs and patient advocacy groups, including the Alzheimer's Association.

If you haven't heard of Carelike, it may be because the company has always worked behind the scenes providing well-known, reputable organizations with data. Now that this company aims to appeal to consumer care seekers, Carelike will share providers' information with not only organizations who license the data but with family members looking for senior services through their new consumer search site.

Carelike is the only online senior listing company that provides that type of exposure for providers - to both consumers and professional care-seekers at organizations who license the data. Meanwhile, Carelike differentiates from its competitors by giving care seekers access and transparency to all providers in their area, not just those who pay for a profile. Carelike displays all available information, truly giving families the power of choice and the ability to make informed decisions. Discover the possibilities for yourself at CareLike.com.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: July 26, 2016

4 qualities to look for in a home health provider

Hiring a home health provider for your senior loved one can be an intimidating experience.

Hiring a home health provider for your senior loved one can be an intimidating experience. You want to ensure that you have the best person for the job, which means they need to meet certain qualifications. Beyond having the right credentials - that is, the appropriate education and certifications - they should also have the necessary skills and personality traits. Here are a few to look for during the hiring process:

Good communicator
How well does the candidate convey his or her ideas? If you find you're more confused after asking a question to the home health aide than you were beforehand, he or she may not be the best at effectively communicating. Don't overlook this detail - the home health aide may have to relay information to you or your loved one's doctor. Doing so in an effective manner can ensure the senior gets the best care possible.

For example, imagine if the home health aide didn't speak up about a concern regarding the senior's lack of appetite. You could go for far too long without realizing there was a problem!

Compassionate
You no doubt want the senior in your family to spend time with someone who shows empathy and emotional support, so don't hire a cynical home health aide! Consider the candidate's demeanor during your initial conversation. Does the individual smile and shake your hand? Did you two make small talk before diving into the interview? Those interpersonal skills are crucial for making the home health care experience positive for everyone involved.

 

Senior holding hands of home health aide.

Hire a home health aide who shows compassion.

Trustworthy
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, integrity is an important trait among home health providers. After all, these individuals are helping the senior with personal activities like dressing and bathing, and you want your loved one to feel comfortable during this process. Plus, you want peace of mind knowing you're leaving older adult with someone who will always be honest.

This trait can be hard to spot - everyone will say they're trustworthy, after all. To really evaluate whether candidates are the right fit, ask them to describe a situation in which they came to an ethical dilemma. How did they overcome the situation?

Able to work under pressure
While most shifts spent caring for your senior loved one may involve leisurely afternoons at the park or helping with daily living activities, others might not be as smooth sailing. Be sure that the home health aide you hire can work well under pressure so he or she will be ready to act in an emergency. Always ask what steps the individual would take if your loved one falls or becomes seriously ill. This will give you a more realistic picture.

As long as the home health provider's resume checks out and he or she has these traits, you should be in good shape!

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: July 19, 2016

3 ways seniors can save on healthcare

Saving money is an integral part of enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, but many seniors in retirement have gone far too long without doing this.

Saving money is an integral part of enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, but many seniors in retirement have gone far too long without doing this. In fact, this financial issue has become somewhat of a crisis in the U.S. According to a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security, the median savings for older adults on the cusp of retirement is only $12,000.

For those who haven't put away enough quite yet, there are still ways to get by later in life. This is even true when it comes to healthcare, which often comes with a hefty price tag. Check out these three money-saving tips for seniors:

1. Pick the right prescription drugs and pharmacy
You shouldn't have to choose between your medications and a meal, but for many seniors, that's a decision they face on a regular basis. According to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 8 percent of older adults without any prescription drug coverage will skip doses or come off entirely. This, of course, can have serious ramifications for one's well-being.

Beyond reviewing your health insurance options, you can also use certain strategies to save on medications. For one, always opt for generic versions of drugs when possible. Making this simple request with your doctor can significantly cut healthcare costs. A report published by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association found that this alternative approach resulted in $92 billion in savings for seniors in 2014 alone.

Additionally, as you might have already discovered, the cost for prescriptions varies between pharmacies. This is due to differences in businesses expenses, like overhead costs and profit margins. To find the best deal, shop around at both your privately-owned local pharmacies and retail chains.

Doctor about to inject senior with flu vaccine.Get flu shots for free.

2. Know what you can get for free
You don't have to pay a single dime for certain components of your wellness plan. For example, did you know many preventative services are free with Medicare Part B? This includes some vaccines, like the flu, hepatitis and pneumococcal shots, in addition to various screenings such as those for cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.

Certainly, a free flu shot is cheaper than getting sick and paying for doctor's visits and hospital stays. In fact, a 2010 study published in the journal Health Affairs found that the increased use of preventative services in the U.S. can lead to an annual average savings of $3.7 billion!

"Preventative services can save $3.7 billion annually!"

3. Consider aging in place
Many seniors require long-term care, and there are plenty of options at their disposal. Those looking to remain cost-efficient might consider "aging in place," a phrase used to describe when older adults utilize home health services instead of assisted living communities. Not only does this allow you to remain in the comfort of your own house, but it can also save you a lot of money.

A semi-private room in a long-term care facility costs a monthly average of $6,235 while home health aides charge about $21 per hour, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Calling on these home health professionals for even eight hours each day would still cost less per month than seeking care elsewhere.

In addition to coming up with a wellness strategy that doesn't cause pain for your wallet, be frugal in all areas of life. That is, stick to a budget and cut out unnecessary expenditures to ensure you always have enough money to take care of your health.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: June 30, 2016

5 signs it’s time to move your senior parent to assisted living

There may never be one defining event that alerts you to schedule a tour of an assisted living community, but there are often more subtle signs that can let you know you're heading in that direction.

In life, there really is no "ideal" time for what matters most. Whether you're trying to find the perfect moment to get married, have kids, relocate or switch jobs, there won't be some ringing alarm clock letting you know when to make your move.

The same concept applies to determining when to move a senior parent to assisted living. There may never be one defining event that alerts you to schedule a tour of the surrounding senior communities, but there are signs that can let you know you're heading in that direction. Here are a few to watch out for:

1. Your senior parent needs assistance with daily activities
If you've gone to your parent's house and realized he or she is still wearing pajamas at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, this is an indication that the senior needs help with daily living activities. As the National Institutes of Health explained, assisted living communities help residents with tasks like dressing, eating and bathing. However, the seniors still maintain some level of independence.

While wearing the same outfit twice in row isn't the end of the world, this habit has implications for the senior's hygiene and overall well-being. You want to ensure your parent has fresh clothes and bathes regularly to remain healthy. Additionally, being provided with monitored meals may allow your parent to eat more nutritional foods. According to the NIH, a well-balanced diet can help seniors stave off conditions like Type 2 diabetes, anemia, heart disease and bone loss.

"Falling is the No. 1 cause of traumatic brain injuries in seniors."

2. Your loved one has fallen
When kids fall, they may end up with scraped knees, but they can usually hop right back up. Older adults can't recovery quite as quickly, and taking a tumble comes with serious risks. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a serious injury, like head trauma, will occur in 1 in 5 senior falls. In fact, falling is the No. 1 cause of traumatic brain injuries in adults age 65 and older.

Falling doesn't only cause problems for a senior's well-being; it can also inhibit his or her lifestyle. As the CDC noted, older adults may be afraid to fall again, so they avoid remaining active, which can lead to further health decline.

Assisted living communities are built with seniors in mind. That means there will be less of a risk for tripping over clutter in the hallway, and bathrooms are often equipped with railings. Not only might this help prevent the issue from recurring, but it can also offer peace of mind. You certainly don't want your parent sitting inside all day out of fear of getting injured.

3. You've noticed the older adult may need memory care
Many assisted living communities offer memory care, which can be beneficial for seniors experiencing cognitive decline. Remember, serious forgetfulness is not a normal part of aging. That is, leaving their phone at home while running to the grocery might not be cause for concern for older adults, but repeatedly asking the same questions or inability to focus generally raise red flags.

Assisted living communities are beneficial because they can prevent the dangerous repercussions of some of dementia's side effects. For example, those with this condition may wander. The Alzheimer's Association advised families of at-risk individuals to keep a close eye on the senior or put devices on the doors that alert you when they are opened. Assisted living communities can provide both supervision and security.

 

Senior couple eating salads outside assisted living community.

Assisted living communities give seniors more opportunities to socialize.

4. The older adult wants more social opportunities
One of the greatest perks for residents of assisted living communities is the opportunity to socialize. Often, seniors at home are limited to whom they can interact with - perhaps a few friendly neighbors if they're lucky. Assisted living communities, on the other hand, organize exercise classes, outings and community events in addition to supplying a space for residents to hang out.

Spending time with friends and participating in fun activities don't just enhance a senior's quality of life but can also protect their well-being. According to the University of Rochester Medical School, staying social may reduce older adults' risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers.

5. You've become stressed as the caregiver
Your well-being is important, and being a stressed-out caregiver isn't doing your loved one any favors. You might have hesitations about putting your parent in an assisted living community. However, it's important to look at the big picture of the situation. Consider all the benefits your loved one gains by moving and how your family dynamic will change for the better.

You love your parent and want the best for him or her, and keeping all your options open will help you do just that. Assisted living communities provide the perfect balance of care and independence.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: February 18, 2016

Top 3 questions to ask a geriatrician

The parent who once cared for you now needs your help, so it’s important to enter this endeavor with the right knowledge.

It can be a strange feeling to see family roles reverse before your very eyes. Whether it's your mother, father or another older loved one, he or she will have new health care needs with age. The transition may come as a surprise. If you've been away for several months, perhaps in another state raising your own family, it may not be until you get together during the holidays that you really notice the health decline. Suddenly, Mom's hands shake more rapidly as she reaches for her tea kettle, or Dad can't remember the name of your youngest daughter.

As this person's younger counterpart, the responsibility to find a reliable and suitable physician may fall on you. The parent who once cared for you now needs your help, so it's important to enter this endeavor with the right knowledge. Here are three questions to ask a potential physician:

1. Are you willing to coordinate with other doctors?
Your senior loved one likely sees more than one doctor, perhaps a dermatologist for dry skin and a gastroenterologist for stomach issues. This presents certain challenges for the patient's health care plan, especially when multiple physicians prescribe pain medications.

"Certain medications are linked to an increased risk for falls."

Researchers from Harvard Medical School found that 30 percent of Medicare patients who received opioid prescriptions got them from multiple doctors. The more painkillers seniors take, the higher their risk for hospitalization. To safeguard your senior loved one's well-being, it's vital for his or her physician to communicate, which is where care coordination comes into play.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, care coordination requires doctors to work together to deliver high-quality and value-based care by sharing patient information and collaborating on treatment plans. Care coordination also necessitates that physicians take the patient's preferences into account, agree on responsibility and aid in care transitions.

2. What is your perspective on medications?
There is nothing wrong with using prescription drugs in treatment plans when patients need them, but it's important for health care professionals to weigh all options equally. Doing so not only opens up opportunities for more effective care, but it also limits the dangers of taking multiple medications. According to a study published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, certain medications are linked to an increased risk for falls, which is already the leading cause of injury among seniors.

Sometimes, prescriptions are the best route, and if that's the case, the doctor must have a plan to help the senior manage those medications. Ask the physician what tools he or she uses to educate patients on use and dosage. Does the doctor ever review the medication list to determine whether certain prescriptions are still necessary? How does the physician communicate with other health care professionals who write prescriptions for your loved one?

 

Doctor writing on clipboard.Ask the doctor what his or her referral process is like.

3. What does your referral process look like?
The adage "two heads are better than one" holds true in just about every facet of life, including health care. A geriatrician specializes in the health care of older adults, but your loved one may have unique needs that fall out of his or her primary care doctor's expertise. For instance, a senior with early signs of dementia may need to see a neurologist. Meanwhile, a patient with a history of cancer may require care from an oncologist.

The older adult's doctor must be willing to make referrals as necessary, but sometimes the medical facility they work at makes that difficult. Ask the physician about the referral process to determine how convenient it will be for your senior loved one to see specialists in the future.

While these questions offer an effective guide to gauging whether a geriatrician is the right match for your senior loved one, not all answers will come from queries. Pay attention to the physician's demeanor, too. Is he or she reluctant to answer questions? Does the doctor seem genuinely interested in your family member's unique needs? Be sure to make a decision that sits well with both you and the senior.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: February 12, 2016

6 Steps for New Caregivers

The role of a caregiver can be very demanding, but if you take the time to know what your role encompasses and know how to make each task easier, you will find the rewards of caregiving to be at your fingertips.

If you’ve recently begun tending to the person in your care because he or she needs even a little help, here are six tips to help you be sure you’re doing the best you can for them while you take care of yourself and others as well.

1. Legal Documents.

The person in your care should designate you to speak for and act on his or her behalf through a Power of Attorney and an Advanced Medical Directive. Our blog about important legal documents explains the purpose of the documents that will help the person in your care set forth his or her wishes in a clear and legal manner. The CareLike search engine can help you find an elder law attorney in your area.

2. Take notes.

Whenever the person in your care visits a physician, has lab tests performed, or goes to the hospital or rehab center, take notes of your conversations with medical personnel and write down changes in the physical and emotional well-being of the person in your care. Review your notes as soon as possible and compile a list of questions to ask. Create a list of go-to people who can answer your questions. The hospital/rehab social worker should be one of the first people you get to know as he or she will be able to answer your questions and help you understand the next steps you will need to take when the person in your care is discharged.

3. Keep track of medications.

If the person in your care has one or more chronic illness or is elderly, chances are he or she takes more than one medication each day. Knowing the purpose for each medication, how much to administer and when to give each one is a critical component of keeping the person in your care on an even keel. Include your pharmacist in your list of go-to people to help you understand the ins and outs of all prescribed and OTC medications the person in your care needs.

4. Get some perspective.

The person in your care may have limited mobility, and that’s why you should ask yourself, “How Safe is my Home?” Simple precautions like de-cluttering hallways and putting yourself in the shoes of the person in your care will give you the perspective of how difficult navigating the home can be for the person in your care.

5. Engage outside help.

Think outside the box when you’re looking for ways to engage the help of others. Many people will offer to help you, but only in a broad sense of letting you know to call them if you need help. Be ready with a list of tasks (prepare meals, run errands, sit with the person in your care while you go out, offer to maintain a birdfeeder or aquarium that provide calming entertainment, do yard work, preform maintenance jobs around the house, or laundry and housework) for anyone who offers their help and match the task to the person who is offering help. Attend support groups. Many support groups are designed to specifically address the health concerns the person in your care is facing (Parkinson’s, dementia, MS, cancer, etc.). Take advantage of the time you spend away from the person in your care with people who can empathize with you and provide support.

6. Take time for yourself.

From a ten-minute walk every day to a two-week respite stay for the person in your care, taking time for yourself when you are focusing on you and not the person in your care will give you more energy and perspective on the important job you have undertaken to care for someone who really needs your help. The role of a caregiver can be very demanding, but if you take the time to know what your role encompasses and know how to make each task easier, you will find the rewards of caregiving to be at your fingertips.

See our other blogs that might help:

Efficient Doctor Visits

How to Save Money on Prescription Medications

A Hospital Stay is no Vacation

Transition from Hospital to Rehab to Home

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: September 29, 2015

Caregivers, Are You a Helicopter or a Drone?

Being an involved caregiver is not only great; it is a necessity. But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Caregivers, we know how much effort you take each and every day to ensure that the person in your care is as comfortable and well-looked after as possible. It’s your job and you do it well.

But when the person in your care is admitted to a hospital or rehab center, you may need to step back and let the professionals do your job.

Being an involved caregiver is not only great; it is a necessity. But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Without realizing it, you may be interfering with the care of the person who is normally in your hands. There’s a balance involved in caring for someone when others are now doing your work. You might want to ask yourself, “Am I a hovering too much?” and determine whether you are a “helicopter” or a “drone.”

Here are the differences between helicopters and drones:

Helicopters:  Stay at the facility 24/7, and uncomfortably sleep in the chair at night. They are irritable the next day.

Drones:  Return home and get a good night’s sleep.

Helicopters:  Wait in the room for the patient to return from therapy and fuss over the very tired patient (who only wants to sleep).

Drones:  Visit after the patient has finished therapy, eaten lunch and awakened from a well-needed nap.

Helicopters:  Cut up food and spoon feed it to the patient, forcing and coaxing them to eat.

Drones:  Bring a favorite meal for them to enjoy, if allowed, while breaking the monotony of institutionally-prepared meals.

Helicopters:  Indicate to staff that they don’t know what they are doing when transferring the patient from wheelchair to bed.

Drones:  Watch while the experts do their job.

Helicopters:  Answer questions from medical staff before the patient has the chance to speak for himself.

Drones:  Supplement answers where appropriate.

You do you a lot of work when caring for a person or a loved one day in and day out. When it’s time for the professionals do their job, use this time to take a brief respite for yourself as well. The change in routine may be just the thing you – and the person in your care – need.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: September 16, 2015

Crisis Management & Finding the Right Living Facility for Your Loved One

Caregivers, you know that at any moment your daily routine can change if the person in your care suffers a medical event that leads to a hospital stay and then by eventual placement in assisted care or skilled nursing home. Avoid the crisis mode.

Caregivers, you know that at any moment your daily routine can change if the person in your care suffers a medical event that leads to a hospital stay. The hospital stay can be followed by rehab and then by eventual placement in assisted care or a skilled nursing home. You might find yourself in crisis mode scrambling around to find the right place.

The easiest and best way to avoid having to manage a crisis like this is to prepare ahead by visiting assisted living communities and skilled nursing homes so that you can make a calm and informed decision. Here are some tips on what to consider:

You’re still the caregiver.

Even when the person in your care is no longer living under the same roof as you, you’ll still be “CEO” of their care.

  • Are you comfortable with the administration, medical and care staff?
  • Do they answer your questions in a timely and precise manner?

Shop around.

You wouldn’t buy a car without comparing different brands – enough said.

  • Do you know anyone who now has or previously had a loved one in long-term care? Ask them to tell you the pros and cons.
  • Ask your doctor or the social worker at the hospital/rehab facility for recommendations.
  • Create a pros/cons list for each community you visit.

Test drive.

One sure-fire way to know you’ve chosen the best community is to test it out first.

  • Schedule a respite or trial stay for the person in your care.
  • Visit often and drop by when the staff isn’t expecting you.
  • Ask the person in your care for feedback: what did they like and dislike?

Location! Location! Location!

Though this triplicated word is the mantra of every realtor, it should be part of your mantra, too.

  • Will traffic be a deterrent for you?
  • Is your preferred hospital close by?
  • Is the parking lot well lit?

General atmosphere.

You may think the facility is lovely, but you’d be wise to look beyond its beauty.

  • Does the décor match the taste of the person in your care?
  • Are there odors in and around the halls that turn you off?
  • As you pass by staff, are they being attentive to residents/patients? Are they friendly towards you?
  • Does the person who is touring you take time to stop and acknowledge the residents/patients?
  • Can you peek in a room (unannounced) to see whether the room and the resident/patient are clean and well cared for?
  • Are they willing to let you sample the food?

Cost.

Many assisted care communities reel you in with low pricing and before you know it, they increase their fees as the person in your care requires more of their attention.

  • Does the facility charge extra for dispensing medications, tending to incontinence, assisting with dressing and other activities of daily living?
  • What is the expected average annual increase?
  • Are all rooms the same rate?

Buyer beware.

Before you sign any contract, be sure you understand the nature of the arrangement.

  • What are your options if you are dissatisfied with the care or you need to move?
  • Are you locked into an annual contract, or are you able to give 30 days’ notice?

Be prepared. What’s your crisis management plan?

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: August 06, 2015

When it comes to social media - who needs to know?

It’s easy to post an update on social media that inadvertently harms yourself or the person in your care and how easily feelings can get hurt. When it comes to social media - who needs to know!?

Caregivers, we appreciate you! We know you work hard to tend to the person in your care who relies on you to be and do many things for them. We know you can easily become overwhelmed while doing your job every day but that your love and caring for that person are your driving force. We also know that you can use all the assistance you can get to organize and schedule help and visits from the outside world.

And we know that you wouldn’t intentionally hurt the person in your care – ever!

It’s easy post an update on social media that inadvertently harms yourself or the person in your care. You might have had a particularly difficult day and your post reflects your frustration. When people read it, they might think negative thoughts about both of you. You might post an update, including pictures, about the health of the person in your care that provides too much information and can be embarrassing to the person in your care and sheds a negative light on you.

Before you click on POST, you might want to check out these alternatives to make sure you keep the right people informed:

Yahoo Groups

People can only become members if you send them an invitation. However, in order for your group members to have access to pictures, links and files, they must also have a Yahoo account.  Yahoo Groups Help

Facebook Groups

Like Yahoo, Facebook group membership is by invitation only. The down sides: Not everyone has a Facebook account; or you may accidentally send your post to the public instead of posting only to the group.  Facebook Groups Help

Mylifeline.org

This is a free and private website portal that has been specifically designed for people who have cancer. Only people who have been invited by you can see your updates. The site also provides a calendar tool that lets you ask for help in providing meals and rides, schedule visits and set reminders. You can also connect with other caregivers and patients.  Mylifeline.org

Caringbridge.org

This is another free and private website portal for anyone with health issues that gives you the option of allowing only members (or the public) access to your page. Caringbridge also provides a scheduling tool for keeping track meals, rides, childcare, etc.  Caringbridge.org

We hope the alternatives will help you stay on top of informing only those who need to know what’s going on with you and the person in your care.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: May 13, 2015

A Hospital Stay is No Vacation

If you’re a caregiver who is tending to the needs of the elderly or chronically ill, you may think that you’ll have a break when the person in your care goes to the hospital. You might want to rethink that belief.

If you’re a caregiver who is tending to the needs of the elderly or chronically ill, you may think that you’ll have a break when the person in your care goes to the hospital.

You might want to rethink that belief.

Who Are You?

As caregiver, you are the CEO for the person in your care. You’re always working, even when the person in your care is not at home with you.

You need to be on your toes and alert about their care even more especially because your routine has changed.

What Happened?

A trip to the hospital most likely means something has changed in the physical well-being of the person in your care. You’ll be spending time relating events leading up to the change.

While you’re waiting for tests and a diagnosis, write down your observations of what transpired in the couple of weeks leading up to the hospital stay.

What about Meds?

A trip to the hospital most likely means the person in your care will be prescribed different medications. You’ll be spending time making sure that the new medication regimen includes everything the person in your care needs. A specialist might only prescribe new meds regarding the emergency at hand, but the person in your care may need to be prescribed the meds s/he was taking before.

Keep a list of all medications and review it with staff to make sure new prescriptions are written for all necessary medications.

Is it an Admission?

A trip to the hospital most likely means that you arrived there through the ER and the person in your care might be admitted for a few days.  You’ll be spending your time making sure the paperwork reflects that the person in your care has actually been admitted and is not just staying there for observation so that Medicare will cover the time in the hospital.

If you’re not getting a definitive answer, ask to see the paperwork, and ask to see it again if you’ve convinced the hospital to admit the person in your care.

What’s Next?

A trip to the hospital most likely means that the person in your care will be transferred from the ER to the intensive care or telemetry unit and then transferred again to a different part of the hospital where new staff will be assigned.  You’ll be spending your time making sure new staff understands the needs of the person in your care.

Establish a relationship with nurses and orderlies for every shift to help everyone stay informed of progress.

Rebounding?

A trip to the hospital can lead to medical issues other than what landed the person in your care there in the first place. Surgical items are sometimes not removed before stitching; contagious infections spread; pressure wounds (bed sores) appear.

Any of these Hospital Acquired Conditions can land you right back in the ER starting the process all over again, and Medicare will not pay for any condition that could have been avoided by the hospital. Changes in health laws have held hospitals accountable for their care of patients, and the numbers of rebound admissions are diminishing every year. But hospital personnel sometimes make mistakes (they’re only human).

If the person in your care develops a fever while in the hospital and/or after surgery, ask whether it might be due to an item that wasn’t removed during surgery or if s/he has developed an infection.  Ask questions about how to avoid pressure wounds, and if you notice one, alert the nurse immediately.

Where to?

The person in your care will most likely need more care after being discharged from the hospital. If rehab is required, you will need to be prepared with the medications list, medical history (past and current) to share with the rehab facility.

Ask the same questions, and follow up on procedures in the rehab facility.

 

Let us know your tips for making a hospital/rehab stay more successful.

For more information about Reduction of Hospital Acquired Conditions, click here.

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