George is beginning to think he should be in on the consultation, but he also wants to respect his mother’s autonomy. It’s a common issue. Caregivers have an important role to play in communicating with doctors, nurses and other health care providers. But it’s a delicate balance, one that must respect the dignity and legal rights of the person you’re caring for while ensuring they get the best possible care. The U.S.-based website nextstepincare.org is dedicated to helping caregivers and providers communicate better. Here are some insights from the site:
- Always be sure the provider knows you are the primary caregiver.
- Before the appointment, talk to the person you’re caring for about what you want to accomplish. Write down the questions and take them with you.
- Ask her or him what role you should play during the visit. Does he or she want you to ask the questions, or to just listen and take notes?
- Figure out how to talk with the provider about sensitive issues. For example, you may want to schedule a phone call with the family doctor after the in-person appointment.
- During the visit, speak up when you feel you need to.
- Be sure you understand information or instructions. (“So what you’re saying is . . .)
- Take notes.
- Make sure you know how to do new tasks you are asked to do.
- Stay calm and be patient. Remember the provider and you are on the same team!
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