With thanks to advocate and guest blogger, Cheryl Scharoun.
Find Cheryl’s advocacy profile here: Baby Boom Health
Do you have a loved one in a Rehabilitation or Skilled Nursing Facility? If you do, I am sure you have several emotions going through your head. These are scary times to say the least. Guilt, isolation, uncertainty, fear, and feeling helpless are just a few.
You can’t visit, so how do you manage that anxiety? Have you called and your call has not been returned? If so, your frustration and anxiety escalate.
Here are some tips that may help.
- Remember, the facilities are dealing with a lot. Prepare your questions ahead of time so you can ask them quickly and efficiently.
- Establish a contact person at the facility. Asking your pre-prepared questions will show the facility you are knowledgeable and on top of your game. It will also show them you are respectful of their time.
- Does your loved one have advance care planning in place, including a living will, healthcare proxy, or power of attorney? Does the facility have a copy of those papers? It is imperative that the staff knows what your loved one wants and does not want.
- Work with the facility to establish a way to communicate with their resident / your loved one. When you are able to communicate with the resident, what do you do with information you get from your loved one that needs attention? Communicating that information with the staff is very important and may be challenging. Make sure you have a plan in place with the facility on how to handle that information. Remember, no issue or concern is too small. If it concerns your loved one, the team that cares for them need to know.
- If your loved one is there for short-term rehab have you discussed the discharge plan? The staff needs to know your goals. They will work with you to prepare you to care for your loved one at home.
- Getting them home will eliminate the depression and isolation. It will also add new stressors on you, the caregiver. You need to be rested and ready for them to come home. Creating a planwill help you eliminate some of the stress.
If this seems overwhelming, a Patient Advocate can help support you and oversee the care of your loved one remotely. The goal is to eliminate your stress by providing you the information that relieves your fears. Everyone needs support and right now society is focusing on the virus, so other issues and concerns may go unnoticed, including family needs. A patient advocate offers guidance, for you and your loved one.