Navigating the Health Care System

By: Proactive Health Advisor  09-12-2011
Keywords: health care, Assisted Living, nursing home

Health care has become confusing and difficult to navigate, even for health care professionals. Families faced with finding solutions need to know their options in both the public and private systems to make optimal care choices.

PHCA will help your family access the information you need to make fully informed decisions that are based on your personal needs and priorities. We understand what benefits both the public and private systems offer for health care, housing, and support services. If you need support managing communications with the health care team, we can guide you through that process with questions to ask and advocating for your loved one. Our goal is to help you find the right answers and strategies that will serve both your immediate and longer term needs.

Real Life Case Study (names changed for confidentiality):

Kari’s mother Joan had been in private independent living when something went wrong. She became very confused and was admitted to hospital, where a battery of tests provided no clear explanation for her confusion. Most of the confusion resolved but she was eventually diagnosed with dementia and placed on a waitlist for a Nursing Home. Kari was distressed with the decision and wanted to know alternatives available that could provide the care her mother needed but outside of an institution. She struggled to understand how her mother could have dementia when 2 months ago she was primarily independent. How could they get another opinion or understand what their options were?

After an emotional meeting with Kari which described Joan as much more competent than her placement would suggest, it was agreed that we would meet and assess her mother for physical, emotional and cognitive health. Our findings did not support Nursing Home placement but a lower level of care that could be found in the community. We were able to find an assisted living facility for Joan based on our assessment and expectations of her future health changes. This new home would allow for additional support as was required without having to relocate and create more change.

Questions for families to consider:

  • Do I really understand what the diagnoses or illnesses are that my loved one has? Do I understand the medical language they are using?
  • Am I being included in the discussions or being told what is happening? How do I advocate to get our needs met?
  • Where do I get the full explanation of health care choices, both public and private?
  • How do I make sense of all this information to create the best plan that will support both myself and my family?
  • Where can I go to get help if I need it?

Keywords: Assisted Living, health care, nursing home

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