10 Tips for Organizing an Older Adult's Medical Care

4 Comments

"My mom never tells me what her doctor says!" It's a common caregiver lament.

As your parents and other family members get older, they will have medical appointment after medical appointment, with a variety of professional doctors, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, etc. An aging adult may have difficulty remembering the details of each of these appointments, as one specialist blends into another. Or, due to memory problems, an older patient may not be able to accurately report the details of any health or cognitive concerns they have.

In some family relationships, parents do not want their children to have knowledge of their own health situation, or they could feel uncomfortable including their children because doing so would reverse their role from caregiver to care receiver. However, this does not stop adult children from worrying! In fact, it makes it more difficult for family caregivers to support aging relatives in their needs when they are blocked from the process.

Here are a few tips to help you overcome this hurdle:

  1. Write down provider contact information: Buy a journal or make an excel spreadsheet and record all of the names, addresses, phone numbers and area of specialties of each health care professional with whom they have contact.
  2. Record medical conditions and medications: Include the diagnosis or problem treated by each of these health care professionals, as well as the medication prescribed (dose, time of day, etc.).
  3. Have an emergency plan: Document the emergency procedure to contact these professionals in a time of crisis as well as their normal office/clinic hours.
  4. Get permission to talk with the doc: Encourage your family member to sign an Authorization with each professional so you have the legal authority to exchange information.
  5. Encourage them to ask questions: Suggest that your family member bring a list of questions and concerns to each appointment, then have them document the answers. Include your questions on this list and give it to your loved one to bring to the appointment.
  6. Get to know your neighborhood pharmacist: Document the pharmacy name and location for each medication prescribed so you can discuss any medication concerns or interactions with the pharmacist.Make sure your family member signs an Authorization at each pharmacy.
  7. Make a master list: Include all medical diagnosis, medications, surgical history, current treatment regimens and treating physicians. Ask your parent to keep this list in their wallet or purse, in the case of an emergency. Place a copy of this form on the refrigerator and near each phone in their home.
  8. Prepare essential legal documents: Encourage your parent to draft a Continuing/Durable Power of Attorney and/or Living Will so they will be ensured you can act on their behalf, if necessary.
  9. Keep tabs on appointment times: If your loved one has memory problems, it is especially important for you to help keep track of the dates and times of the appointments so that you can remind him or her, if necessary.
  10. Help their doctor help them: If your loved one will not allow you to attend medical appointments and he or she will not share information with you, but you have concerns about significant health and safety issues, write an email or letter to the doctor. In this way, you are not asking for the doctor to break your loved one's confidentiality. You are only offering details for which the doctor to follow-up.

The above information is the basic information needed to assist your parents or an aging relative with their health functioning. It is equally important to organize all of their personal and financial affairs to ensure that you can provide comprehensive support in all aspects of their life when the time approaches.

Stephanie Erickson, MSW, PSW, LCSW specializes in working with seniors and their families. She founded Erickson Resource Group, hosts a free weekly podcast “Caregivers’ Circle” on WebTalkRadio.net and is a frequent TV and radio guest. She has a clinical practice and trains financial institutions, community groups and professional organizations.

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4 Comments

Excellent-outstanding Tips for Organizing an Older Adult's Medical Care

I routinely use the following HIPAA. Some services require their own form be used.
I you don't have a HIPAA you are blocked out. POA or No Poa.
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HIPAA Privacy Authorization Form and Notice of POA/DPOA
Authorization for Use or Disclosure of Protected Health Information
(Required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164)

{Names and DOB}
Do authorize {Name of Party being given authirization} to disclose the protected health information described below to { name that can be given information}

This authorization for release of of our complete insurance, and prescription information. Including all past, present, and future periods.

This medical information may be used by the person we authorized to receive this information for medical treatment or consultation, billing or claims payment, or other purposes as we may direct.

This authorization shall be in force and effect until canceled by named individual at which time this authorization for that individual expires.

We understand that we have the right to revoke this authorization, in writing, at any time. We understand that a revocation is not effective to the extent that any person or entity has already acted in reliance on our authorization or if our authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage and the insurer has a legal right to contest a claim.

We understand that information used or disclosed pursuant to this authorization may be disclosed by the recipient and may no longer be protected by federal or state law.


X______________________ X_________________

http://www.hhs.gov/hipaafaq/use/478.html
The Privacy Rule does not require that a document be notarized or witnessed.

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I found grist of this disclaimer on TechByter Worldwide. {adapted for my postings}
Regarding my posts: I participate and post for informational purposes only. I assume no responsibility for accuracy. Any actions you take based on my posting information are entirely at your own risk. Products and services are mentioned for informational purposes only and their various trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners. I am an independent un-paid aggregator; I collect information from various Internet sources share it thru Dave Mainwaring’s Knowledge Network
Great information!!! We created a tool to help families do this for themselves and loved ones. It's called SafelyMD (SafelyFiled for many family members). It provides the ability to capture information, download to paper or be made immediately via an emergency data card if needed; so you have it everywhere you go in your wallet. In addition, a digital copy of your living will, do not resuscitate order or health care power of attorney can be uploaded for immediate access if ever needed. The need to help our elderly parents is growing..especially regarding record keeping and prescription drug management.