Author: Shannon Miller
July 26, 2011
By guest blogger Tammy Badida:
Our journey was one that was filled with so many doctors, hospitals, and procedures. Let’s just say in one way or another we visited just about every floor at the hospital. For the most part we were very blessed to have a good medical team surrounding us.
What I came to realize, however, was that we were going to be seeing many of the same doctors routinely and for a long time, so it was important for us all to become comfortable with one another. One thing we as caregivers have and should utilize more frequently is a voice. We do have a say in many things when it comes to our loved one’s care and who is providing it.
We rarely had to request any changes, but when we did, it always turned out to be for the better choice for us. One particular time we made that request was with our oncologist. For you caregivers of a cancer patient, you know how important this particular doctor can be. He was a great oncologist, but his delivery of information was very “rough around the edges,” and we really needed and wanted someone who was a little less matter-of-fact and a bit more compassionate. It was one of the best things we could have done. The information we received from the new oncologist was still the same, but the way in which it was delivered had been softened and made it little easier for my husband to hear.
Usually, there is a patient advocate or case manager at the hospital you can go to for any requests or changes you may need or want to make. It is probably a good idea, especially if you know you will be at the hospital for a long period of time, to go ahead and find out who the patient advocate or case manager is and how you can reach them if you ever need them.
You have the right to be “choosy” with the care your loved one is receiving. It is a lot easier on you to make the changes when you recognize the need instead of waiting until later when you will probably have a lot less time and/or energy. Don’t be afraid to make changes in any area of care that may be needed. You are not the first, nor the last caregiver that may need to request a change. The patient advocates and case managers understand that you are not out to hurt feelings when you are requesting a change, but that you are just trying to do what is best for you and your loved one.
You have a voice and a choice, use them!
“No one else can ever make your choices for you. Your choices are yours alone. They are as much a part of you as every breath you will take, every moment of your life.”— Dr. Shad Helmstetter, Choices
Next week I will be beginning to share a little bit of insight on the topic of caretaking specifically for a terminally ill patient.
Article by Tammy Badida
Tammy’s story of “Learning to Live” during a life-changing battle has encouraged and reached so many already and can be found at: www.thebadidas.blogspot.com.
Leave a Reply
4 Responses to “ Be Choosy ”
Ana Alvarez Says:
“Another excellent article! Feeling “stuck” with a doctor or nurse would add stress to an already difficult situation… And many people get frustrated and do not realize that many times they do have choices. It is great for you to discuss talking to a patient advocate or case manager. Many do not even know that they exist. Great information. Thanks again, Tammy!”
Wow…more stellar advice…Many people never question a doctor nor do they think they can switch…but you make it sound so normal and I know it will help others use their voice to make the right choice..
I look foward to next Tuesdays column!
Dee Dee Fenwick Says:
Spot on! As I read your article I felt like I was going back in time. We were in the same situation and had to get a second opinion. Ultimately, we did “choose” to go with the second doctor. It was crazy though, before we made the change, how long we went feeling like something was a little off.
Again, when so much is going on it is often overwhelming!
Crystal Mixson Says:
As always, great advice. I know seeking a second opinion and going with that second opinion was important in an experience we had. Everyone is individual, with individual needs. One course of treatment or one doctor that is great for someone you know, doesn’t mean that is going to be the best for your needs. There is no shame in finding the best care for our loved ones…even if that means change.