As the health of our parents’ declines, we may find ourselves becoming more involved with their care. While doctors certainly make errors on their own, many people confuse medical malpractice with a doctor not having been given enough information with which to do their job. To ensure our parents are getting proper care, it often becomes necessary to step in and play a role in their relationship with their medical providers. Here are some tips for talking to your parent’s doctor and care-giving team.
1. Health Care Proxy
No matter how old our parents, they are still privy to a doctor-patient relationship. This means that a doctor cannot provide you with information without your parents’ permission. A health care proxy or durable medical power of attorney is important. This will ensure that the doctor knows that you are responsible for making health care decisions if your parent becomes unable to do so. An attorney can help you draft this paperwork and file it.
2. Pick One Person
Things can become confused when multiple people have their hands in the care of another. Pick one family member to act as a contact person. This person can then, in turn, provide information to the rest of the family. Medical professionals simply do not have time to answer questions from or sit down and talk to every member of the family.
3. Go to Appointments
Do not rely on your parent to translate information. Go to the appointments yourself. This is the most reliable way to make sure you know what is happening with your parent’s health and treatments.
4. Get Help
If you cannot attend appointments with your parent, find someone who can. You may hire a geriatric care manager, a home health aide or another type of paid caregiver to go to appointments with your parent.
5. Ask Questions
Never assume that doctors are sharing all information. Do not assume that all doctors are in communication with one another. If your parents has multiple health care providers, ask questions of each and get records. Make it your responsibility to relay information between doctors.
6. Stick with One Medical Group
If your parent’s primary doctor is associated with a medical group, stay within that circle of providers. This can make it easier for you to get information and be sure information is being passed along. Keep a single notebook or folder for information that you can easily carry with you.
Your parent may be reluctant to give up their independence, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t need assistance with their health care. By being proactive and developing a relationship with your parent’s medical providers, you can be sure that they are getting the care they need.
If your parent has been the victim of medical malpractice, please call our office. A member of our team will review the details of your claim and advise you how to move forward. Call today or browse our website for more information about our firm and how we can assist you.