Democracy + Modern Technology

March 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alexis @ 10:26 AM

Isn’t it remarkable that every single one of us can listen to Supreme Court arguments live? Live! All of us! And you can read the full transcript later the same day. It’s remarkable, absolutely remarkable. Humans have been organizing ourselves into nation-states for a few thousand years now, and when before in all that history has every single citizen had full, complete, easy access to every word spoken by one of their nation’s highest decision-making bodies? Never.

This is cause for real celebration. It doesn’t matter what you think of the Affordable Care Act. It’s the fact that we can also listen to every word spoken in the Supreme Court that is astonishing. Talk about empowering.

Prepare for the ASAP Nurse Screening Visit

March 23, 2012

Filed under: Living at Home — Alexis @ 12:10 PM

So you finally convinced your parent or spouse to let you call your local ASAP – around here, that’s South Shore Elder Services or Old Colony Elderly Services. You have a date for the nurse to come meet your spouse or parent. What do you do next?

First, make a list of everything you want to discuss with the nurse. That means all your loved one’s medical issues, medications, medical history, along with all the things you think she has trouble with and needs help doing. Ask other people to help you put together this list so that you don’t forget anything.

On the day of the visit, make sure that the primary caregiver is at the home. That may be you, it may be another family member, it may be a home health aide. Whomever can give truthful reporting as to the elder’s abilities and needs should be at this screening. As most of us decline, whether physically or mentally or both, we become very good at downplaying our shortfalls. No one wants to admit that they need help, especially not with the basics of life, like climbing stairs and getting dressed. Elders tend to be embarrassed that they can no longer do these basic things alone and will tell the nurse that they are more able than they in fact are. The caregiver needs to make sure that the screening nurse gets a full picture of the elder’s needs.

Remember that your job is to make sure the nurse has as accurate a picture as you can give her of the elder’s abilities and needs. Only then can she design a plan that will bring in as many services as possible to fit your loved one’s needs.

Bring It with You

March 6, 2012

Filed under: Medical Care — Tags: , — Alexis @ 12:15 PM

Do you have a Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Statement, and advanced directive (in my office that would be the workbook called Your Way)? If you are in a hospital or rehab and are being transferred to another medical institution, bring copies with you. Do not assume these will be transferred to the new institution!!

We are living in the beginning of the age of electronic medical records, so you would think it would be a no-brainer that your Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Statement, and advanced directive would go with you to your new medical institution. But even the best computer systems are run by humans, and we all know that medical institutions are understaffed.

Be on the safe side and bring these documents with you. When you get to the new institution, make sure these are placed in your chart. And then tell every nurse and doctor who comes to see you that they can find these documents in your chart.