by: Tom Krahel
Elderly parents with chronic health conditions will mean that you will be taking them to the hospital. You want to do everything possible to help them. In their weakened condition they are more susceptible to infections and complications.
There is a right way and a wrong way to handle hospitals. I'll show you how to:
- Pick the right hospital
- Pick the right doctor
- Pick the right accommodation
- Pick the right price
- Pick the right outcome
Pick The Right Hospital
Picking the right hospital from the different types (teaching, specialty, community, etc.) is important. You want to find the hospital that closely matches the surgical procedure your loved one (LO) needs to have done. To find the hospital with the best success rate for the procedure that has to be done go to the website footnoted below*.
This is a service of Medicare and you will get general information, comparisons by medical condition and surgical procedure for the hospitals in your area. In our case we needed a good local hospital because my father-in-law's conditions while chronic where not complicated. We also had to transport him three times a week to dialysis and we did not want to travel too far.
Pick The Right Doctor
Your geriatrician is probably the best source for a specialist for your LO's condition. If that condition is a complicated one you may want to choose a board certified specialist. These doctors are peer reviewed and have to meet higher standards. To find a board certified specialist go to the American Board of Medical Specialties. Their website is footnoted below**.
Pick The Right Time.
Try to schedule elective surgery for as early in the week and as early in the day as possible. Like everyone else doctors, doctors are fresher at those times.
Try not to schedule surgery during July. That's the time that new residents and interns start their work. Your LO would do better with a team that has worked together for a while.
Pick The Right Price
My father-in-law was covered by Medicare and a supplemental health insurance plan. To be sure that the procedures being contemplated are covered contact the insurance company ahead of time to get the necessary pre-approvals, exemptions, and deductibles. Find out if the rest of the surgical team accepts your LO's insurance.
You will get a bill for anything not covered by Medicare or insurance. Ask for an itemized bill and make sure that it is accurate. If there is a problem you can't resolve contact the hospital's patient advocacy office and ask for their help.
If you still are not satisfied contact the Patient Advocate Foundation at 1-800-532-5274 or patientadvocate.org and ask for assistance.
Pick The Right Outcome
To insure that your LO gets the best outcome this is how to eliminate as many complications as possible:
a) Make a list of all medications your LO is taking, the time of day taken, the dosage and the frequency. List all vitamins, supplements, and herbal products. List all previous reactions to drugs. List all allergies or sensitivities. List all chronic conditions and whether they use tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. Bring it with you when you meet with the surgeon. In addition, place a copy of this list in a plastic bag and attach it to the refrigerator. If the emergency squad has to be called when you are not at home, they will need this information.
b) Your LO will get pre-surgical instructions in writing. Be sure they follow them. NO EXCEPTIONS.
c) Your LO will get discharge instructions in writing. Follow the NO EXCEPTIONS.
My father-in-law was in the hospital thirteen times and eight of those admissions resulted in a further stay in a rehabilitation facility. For a free DVD with information about caring for an elderly parent please go to http://www.HomeCareSurvival.com
Caring for an elderly parent can be even more stressful if you do not have the right information. The legal, financial, medical, housing, and support information from a care givers point of view is now available. With this information you will provide more compassionate elder care. You will save your sanity and possibly thousands of dollars. For a FREE DVD on elder care go tohttp://HomeCareSurvival.com