When unable to care for loved ones in a home setting, families look for alternative living arrangements, such as a nursing home, that can provide the higher level of services and care needed. Many families invest time in researching and visiting nursing home facilities before making a decision as to where to place their loved one. On the surface, these nursing homes may appear nice and suitable, but how do you know what happens to your loved one when you’re not there? Who watches the caretakers you’ve entrusted with your loved one’s care?
Think about your medicine cabinet. If you have at least one prescription drug on a shelf, you’re in good company. According to a study published this year by the National Center for Health Statistics, about 46% of of the U.S. population (about 150 million) used prescription drugs during 2015-2016 with approximately 85% of adults over the age of 60 taking prescribed medications. Drugs today are more targeted than ever, which means each medication is designed to treat specific symptoms or disorders . With over 10,000 prescription medications available, it isn’t surprising that mistakes happen. What might be surprising is how often they do.
We’ve all heard the troubling news out of the Dominican Republic – at the time of this publishing, nine American tourists have died while on vacation in that country over the last year. Even more concerning are reports authorities have pressured families to cremate remains instead of bringing their loved one’s body back to the states for burial. Because of the national and international press coverage and increasing pressure for answers, the FBI is now in the country investigating.
It’s a situation many people are familiar with. An elderly mother passes away suddenly, leaving her husband, who suffers from mild dementia, home alone. Their adult children are now left facing decisions they may never have considered.
The time has come. Your aging parent can no longer be cared for at home, and you have carefully researched nursing home facilities to find the one you feel can take the best care of them. You are sitting next to each other on the opposite side of the Admission Coordinator’s desk. She has been very helpful, and the facility appears neat and clean with well-cared-for residents. Even so, a flood of conflicting emotions runs through you, and you sense your parent’s unease and nervousness. The coordinator pushes a multi-page admission agreement across the table. “All we need is your signature to make the arrangements.” You can’t concentrate enough to read all the provisions, let alone understand it all, but you want desperately to get this over with. Here’s why you shouldn’t.
No one can predict what the future may hold. What will you do if you have a serious injury or illness or if your child, parent, or spouse is dealing with those same major health issues? How will you keep your job and take care of yourself and your family?
There are few things more stressful than having a loved one in the hospital. Not only is he/she far from the comfort and security of home, the medical environment can be confusing, intimidating, and frustrating. You and they may feel vulnerable and helpless in the bustle and the stream of doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers who are treating and caring for your family member or friend. Yet, how do you know the care they’re receiving is the right care and that nothing is amiss or overlooked? By shifting your focus from being a passive visitor to a proactive advocate, you can help ensure your loved one is receiving the best care possible. And, no, you are not an inconvenience, but a valuable part of your loved one’s care team. Here are a few things you can do to get empowered and be a caring voice for relative or friend when they are at their most vulnerable.
Medicine is one field in which the daily decisions and actions of medical professionals can make the difference between life and death. If you or a member of your family have suffered the consequences of a suspected mistake under the care of a doctor, nurse or hospital, you might wonder what to do.
If you are suffering from a serious illness or physical impairment from a condition you believe could have been prevented, you may be the subject of a medical misdiagnosis. Medical misdiagnosis is much more common than you might expect. A recent study estimates 5% or about 12 million adults in the United States each year are wrongly diagnosed. If this happened to you, you might wonder if you have any recourse. It is certainly possible that you do.