Whether you care for a loved one in their home, or manage their care from a distance, you have probably found yourself responsible for advocating for your loved one’s needs. Perhaps you’ve been on the phone with insurance companies on behalf of a loved one with dementia, or expressed concerns to your loved one’s care team about a sudden change in pain levels.
Home care workers are an important line of defense in many ways, including patient advocacy.
Non-medical home care workers make sure patients take their prescription medications on time. They can also transport clients to and from medical appointments and pharmacies. They can help patients understand what each medication is for and how it is meant to be taken as prescribed. If they have concerns about drug interactions or side effects, they can call the client’s doctor or pharmacist.
Being present with our clients means we notice when something changes. Maybe their mood has declined, or they’re tired because they’re having trouble sleeping, or they’re having more trouble getting around the house safely. These can be symptoms of health issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Upon noticing these changes, the home care worker can take action.
Mental and Emotional Health
Another benefit of being present with our clients is the powerful effect of spending time socializing. When seniors know somebody cares about them and is going to spend time with them, their outlook can improve. They might open up, enjoy life more, or feel more invigorated to take an active role in their health.
The Importance of Advance Directives
If your loved one experiences a physical or mental impairment that interferes with their ability to make important health care decisions, discuss advance directives. This way, the home care worker can alert you when you may need to serve as a health care proxy for your loved one.