Author: Shannon Miller
By guest blogger Tammy Badida:
Our journey was one that was filled with so many doctors, hospitals, and procedures. Let’s just say in one way or another we visited just about every floor at the hospital. For the most part we were very blessed to have a good medical team surrounding us.
What I came to realize, however, was that we were going to be seeing many of the same doctors routinely and for a long time, so it was important for us all to become comfortable with one another. One thing we as caregivers have and should utilize more frequently is a voice. We do have a say in many things when it comes to our loved one’s care and who is providing it.
We rarely had to request any changes, but when we did, it always turned out to be for the better choice for us. One particular time we made that request was with our oncologist. For you caregivers of a cancer patient, you know how important this particular doctor can be. He was a great oncologist, but his delivery of information was very “rough around the edges,” and we really needed and wanted someone who was a little less matter-of-fact and a bit more compassionate. It was one of the best things we could have done. The information we received from the new oncologist was still the same, but the way in which it was delivered had been softened and made it little easier for my husband to hear.
Usually, there is a patient advocate or case manager at the hospital you can go to for any requests or changes you may need or want to make. It is probably a good idea, especially if you know you will be at the hospital for a long period of time, to go ahead and find out who the patient advocate or case manager is and how you can reach them if you ever need them.
You have the right to be “choosy” with the care your loved one is receiving. It is a lot easier on you to make the changes when you recognize the need instead of waiting until later when you will probably have a lot less time and/or energy. Don’t be afraid to make changes in any area of care that may be needed. You are not the first, nor the last caregiver that may need to request a change. The patient advocates and case managers understand that you are not out to hurt feelings when you are requesting a change, but that you are just trying to do what is best for you and your loved one.
You have a voice and a choice, use them!
“No one else can ever make your choices for you. Your choices are yours alone. They are as much a part of you as every breath you will take, every moment of your life.”— Dr. Shad Helmstetter, Choices
Next week I will be beginning to share a little bit of insight on the topic of caretaking specifically for a terminally ill patient.
Article by Tammy Badida