With the rapidly rising cost of nursing homes and the desire of seniors to stay in their homes, more and more families are turning to home care options, perceiving it as a less disruptive and safer alternative to living in an elder care facility. And why not? There are many services that can be provided in the comfort of a senior’s own home – everything from personal care and housekeeping to professional therapy and medical services. Families have even opted to have round-the-clock in-home care instead of placing a loved one in a nursing home.
Let’s face it. We are living in a brand-new reality where COVID-19 has been burned into our collective psyche. Even before the pandemic was thrust upon us, accessing healthcare presented challenges. Now - as patients and caretakers – we have multiple layers of doubt we must work through before even crossing into the doctor’s office. Is my condition/injury bad enough to warrant placing myself in further jeopardy by going to the doctor or diagnostician and exposing myself to the virus? Should I delay seeking treatment until the daily statistics are better? Can I risk not seeking out medical diagnosis or will I make it worse?
When under medical care, you are putting your health and even your life in the hands of the medical professionals treating you – as well as their support teams. Think of all that is involved – assessment, tests, diagnosis, treatment. Most of us simply accept what our physician tells us and follow the treatment recommendations that are made. And, usually, that results in a positive outcome and we feel (and are) healthier and better.
For many of us who have family in a nursing home or assisted living, we can’t always be there with them. And now, with the current Covid-19 restrictions, that is even more true. But, unlike temporary urgent situations such as hospitalization, when it comes to nursing homes, even under the best of circumstances we can’t always be there. However, our care and concern are always with us. Are they healthy and happy? Are they receiving quality care? How will we know when something’s just not right?
If you had told us just a few short months ago that there would be a health scenario that would keep families apart from a loved one in the hospital, it would have been hard to envision. Yet, here we are. Out of necessity, visitation policies have been drastically tightened to reduce the possibility of the additional spread of Covid-19. For many families, personal visits are simply not an option. The impact goes beyond emotional support for the patient. When we aren’t there, who will advocate and watch out for our loved one?
The current pandemic helps us all appreciate how fortunate we are to live in a country with dedicated, capable, and hardworking medical professionals. You might think this is a strange message coming from a firm handling medical malpractice cases; however, our experience has taught us that our medical community is largely made up of committed individuals who entered the healthcare field to make a true and positive difference for their patients. The cases we manage are typically outliers rather than the norm.
Have you ever seen or read your medical records? For most of us, that answer is likely “no.” Yet, any time you receive medical care, your provider prepares written notes documenting the care and treatment you received. In the case of possible medical negligence or malpractice, your medical records become a critical source of information, which we rely on to establish your medical and treatment history and to identify any potential provider errors. Given the importance of medical records in this regard, you should know the following:
The recent alarming increase in IV drug use has also resulted in an increase in serious infections. An infection may arise when germs that reside on the skin or on a contaminated needle are pushed through the skin deeper into the body bypassing the normal barriers of entry or skin defenses. A common resulting infection seen in IV drug users are spinal epidural abscesses.
Most of us are fortunate to have a primary healthcare provider who is able to take care of the vast majority of our medical needs. For certain conditions and symptoms, however, more specialized care is required. We access that specialized care through the medical referral system.
The issue of medical bias in our healthcare industry is getting some well-deserved attention. When physicians graduate, they take the Hippocratic Oath that includes this phrase, “I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings….” In its ideal form, the practice of medicine is driven by strong provider-patient relationships underscored by solid protocols of diagnosis and treatment. That’s what we expect, so when we see a doctor, we expect to be treated objectively, fairly, and compassionately.