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Communicating with the Health Care Team

23 Nov 2017

Gaining Knowledge to Manage Home Health Care

Communicating with the health care team of your senior family member or friend allows you to make informed decisions on the best options, such as home health care services. The key to communicating with health care professionals is to be organized and persistent. Plan what you want to say before you meet with the doctor or any other health practitioner. 

Here are some tips:

  • Write down issues and questions that you want to discuss – it’s better to have a list to refer to so you don’t forget anything.

  • Prioritize your list. Chances are your doctor or other health care provider will not have time to talk about a million different things. You want to maximize what you get out of your visit. So, have the most pressing issues at the top and, if necessary, book another appointment to address the others. This might be inconvenient, but it’ll increase your chances of getting high quality information about your top concerns.

  • Don’t use jargon when trying to explain your concerns. Using jargon and trying to make your situation sound like something you’ve read about prevents a health care practitioner from making an un-biased assessment. Give them concrete examples of when and where things hurt, or when and where activities are difficult for your family member or friend to complete. Be concise and just tell it like it is.

  • Communicate preferences of race, ethnicity, culture and religion to the team. This will help in promoting appropriate care for your family member or friend. It will also help if there is a time when health care decisions must be made on their behalf.

  • Take notes during the appointment. Many issues may come up after the appointment and you don’t want to forget what was already discussed.

  • Plan for the next step in the care of your family member or friend. Use the information that you’ve gathered from health care professionals in the past and information from recent appointments to help you and your family member or friend decide what the next step is. If they are still capable of making decisions, let them decide what they want to do and help them achieve their health care goals. This may include home health care options available through many community organizations.