Whether we are taking care of our children, our parents, a sibling or a cherished friend, it is important to maintain personal wellness from a physical, financial and legal perspective.
It is easy to miss critical details because you are concentrating on what was just said and miss the next 10 sentences. Having a second set of eyes and ears is important. As a caregiver, you need to make sure you can access the missing information. This means being a designated guardian, agent under a Power of Attorney, Health Care Agent and/or Surrogate. In some situations, you may also be asked for a HIPAA Medical Release. Many attorneys are including the required HIPAA language in their documents to simplify access to information.
It is critical to remember that you are not the patient. Your role is to share the information and participate in decision making. Establishing the right to information allows you to speak directly to all health care providers, obtain copies of medical records and participate in decision making. You have to make sure you are not imposing your will and value system on the person you are helping. They may desire to continue seeking treatment that you do not understand or support. Ultimately it is their decision and as a caregiver, you must support their decisions. Remember - you are acting with them and are not taking over for them.
Lastly, being a caregiver can be emotionally and physically exhausting! Many articles can be found reminding us that you need to take both physical and mental breaks from caregiver duties. Take time for yourself. It is OK to say “no” when you need a break. You are not abandoning them. You are no good to the person you are assisting if you spread yourself too thin and become in need of help yourself.
If you interested in learning more, please contact Vicky Ann Trimmer, Esquire at Daley Zucker Meilton & Miner, LLC at (717) 724-9821