When a loved one is sick, we often feel totally helpless and caught up in the medical world. If people only knew how important their role as caregiver really is. Credit goes to Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, for these wonderful tips on how to fight for and protect a sick loved one.
- Don't be afraid to intervene: If you see something going on that strikes you as wrong, say so. A medication that you've never seen before, a dressing that remains after a doctor said it would be removed, IVs that should be given on a regular schedule. It's OK to push and not accept the first answer.
- Ask Questions until you understand the answer: If the doctor says surgery is needed and you don't understand why or when or how...ask. If explanations are given in terms that make no sense..push until you understand.
- You know things that the doctors don't: You know if your loved one is in pain, has been bleeding longer than the doctor thinks, is shy and won't talk or hundreds of other facts that the medical folks just can't know. Share information...it might be important to healing.
- Temper your loved one's enthusiasm for quick fixes: Pain and anxiety can affect the way a patient hears the doctor. It is OK to ask for a 2nd opinion, look at alternative treatments or just stop and discuss. Be the advocate with the clear mind.
- Scope out the nurses: The nurses are the ones that see it all. They know the details of tests, timing and the ins and outs of the complicated hospital environment. The nurse can often interpret things for you if you didn't follow rule #2. Nurses are the patient's second best advocate after you, so partner with them.