Being Proactive Pays Off

by elizabethsfrank 27. May 2014 09:45

Being Proactive Pays Off


By Kimberly Silvestri, President and CEO of Silvestri Services

When working with our elderly family members, it pays to be proactive rather than reactive. Waiting for a crisis to occur creates unnecessary stress. Planning early for long term care with your loved ones using Care Management, helps you become more prepared for the future and helps you make more informed decisions.

We are constantly reminded to make major life decisions when things are stable and calm; however, most families wait until a crisis occurs with their elder parent or relative and their health declines. These families then find themselves in a crisis and are forced to make very important and costly health care decisions with a limited amount of time to research viable and practical options.

By working with a certified care manager, you can have a detailed assessment done and a care plan developed to help you begin the planning process should you need additional care for your aging parent or relative. I worked with a family that contacted me when their mother had hip replacement surgery after a fall in the home. The family was told their mother could not return to her home and she needed to be placed in a nursing home for rehabilitation and therapy after surgery.

The son was an only child and owned a company. He was the only one responsible in helping his mother make all her health care decisions. Overwhelmed, he didn’t know where to obtain information on facilities for therapy and what his mother needed. He contacted me to assist him in managing his mother’s medical needs and to also identify and implement the needed services for his mother.

During the assessment, I provided the son with a checklist of important things to consider when a family member wants to start thinking about care for a loved one as their medical health declines. The checklist below is a starting point for you and your family to begin discussions about the types of care and services that may be needed in the future.

  1. Have a detailed assessment done by a certified care manager to develop a detailed care plan, which provides a list of suggestions and referrals to help assist with your loved one’s medical and physical health.
  2. If your loved one becomes ill or has declining health, can the family assist or will a caregiver need to be hired? If you are going to hire a caregiver, use a company that has caregivers that are insured, bonded and are actual employees. Make sure that the company has 24-7 around the clock contact with staff and employees should a caregiver call off or not show to a shift to protect you and not create stress for your family.
  3. Create a detailed medication list in the home with all the current medications and vitamins should your loved one need to be hospitalized. Keep a current copy of this list in the home to provide the doctor or emergency staff.
  4. Discuss with your loved ones would they want a do not resuscitate order (DNR) or to do CPR? Have their medical doctor sign this form and keep this form in a place that can be easily located in the event of an emergency. Without this form being present, the paramedics will start CPR immediately.
  5. Discuss the living options with your family members. Would your loved one agree to live in an assisted living or nursing home if they had declining health or would they want to remain in their home? If they state that they would be willing to go to an assisted living or nursing home facility, let them be a part of the process and take them on tours to see the facilities in the area before a crisis occurs. This will help make the transition in the future easier if they were part of the planning. A care manager can help you narrow down facilities in your area and can review the State surveys to ensure that the facilities have met the quality of care standards for the State of Illinois.
  6. Have an open and honest discussion with family members and discuss what they would and would not be willing to do in terms of providing care. This is the most important step for families, it requires honesty about how much time and money you would be able to invest if a loved one becomes ill.

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