Many seniors need help managing healthcare

 

Last updated 9/11/2008 at Noon



A recent AARP Bulletin reports that only 12 percent of US elderly have the skills to receive and use health information in order to manage their healthcare correctly. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality also states:

• Only 53 percent have the intermediate skills necessary to read the instructions on a prescription to determine the right time to take their medication.

• Just 22 percent of the elderly have the basic skills to read a pamphlet and understand at least two reasons why a test might be necessary even if they have no symptoms.

• Fourteen percent can only understand simple instructions, such as identifying what to drink before a medical test. Of these, seven million are not literate in English.

These surprising statistics point out why it is so important for adult children to be involved in helping their parents in the increasingly difficult healthcare maze.

For children who are unable to devote the ever-increasing hours needed to help their parents, a geriatric case manager is the way to help the elder. A person who no longer has the skills necessary to manage his own healthcare is at a greater risk of medical errors and of not getting the results needed from his treatment.


Caregivers for parents must learn to research the correct healthcare information and then teach and coach them on a day-to-day basis.

In the role as student, teacher and coach, the child must remember that the communication is not complete until a parent can explain the question and answer back. Don’t just ask “Do you understand?” A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question is not effective feedback.


Instead, ask:

• “I may not have explained that right; will you tell me what I just said?”

• “What side effects should we be watching for?”

• “Where do you think is the best place to put your medication boxes?”

The RN case managers at Innovative Healthcare Consultants, Inc. are trained to help the senior with these kinds of problems and more. That allows the child(ren) of the senior to return to loving their parent and lets the case manager handle the healthcare issues.

For more information, visit http://www.innovativehc.com or call (760) 731-1334 or (877) 731-1442. Innovative Healthcare Consultants, Inc. assists clients throughout San Diego and southern Riverside counties.

 

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