While your loved one is in the hospital, who will speak up for him or her? You can, by being the patient’s advocate – the person who will help the patient work with doctors, nurses and hospital staff. To help your loved one make the best decision about his or her care and treatment, follow our caregiver tips:
- Know what condition your loved one is being treated for.
- Know your patient’s rights and responsibilities.
- Know whether or not your loved one has an Advance Directive and if so, what it specifies.
- If your loved one is too ill or reluctant to ask questions, make note of his or her concerns and any you may have, and don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Your loved one may be prescribed medications while in the hospital and may be seen by several doctors. Keep track of it all with pen and paper.
- Will your loved one need home care or care at another facility? Ask to speak with a care manager to discuss options.
While you are making sure that your loved one’s needs are being met, don’t neglect your own. Caregiving is a stressful and time-consuming job. You may neglect your diet, normal exercise routine and sleep needs. You may find that you have little or no time to spend with friends, relax or just be by yourself for a while. But down time is important. Don’t be reluctant to ask for help in caring for a loved one.