Cheering on our favorite football teams this fall is getting us thinking: Does your loved one have an all-star care team?
To keep your number one fan in optimum health as they progress through the stages of dementia, their care team roster could include friends and family, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, memory care and other specialists, as well as a care coordinator. Depending on your loved one’s needs, that care coordinator could be a professional, or it could be you.
“Care coordinators are like quarterbacks,” explains Suzy McCann, Community Relations Director of YourLifeTM of Pensacola, a Memory Care community in Pensacola, Florida. “Coordinators develop care plans and courses of action, educate the patient and family members, facilitate the delivery of appropriate care services across multiple disciplines.”
Sound like a big job? It is. But coordinating a care team who knows all the plays and works together will ensure you have the support you need to help your loved one achieve optimal wellness. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of coordinated care teams.
Coordinating a Network of Family Caregivers
Care coordination is a broad term that can be described as a holistic approach that blends complementing care, support and assistance, or social services to address the individual’s different needs and improve all areas of well-being and quality of life.
In-home caregivers are often already in charge of care coordination. Managing activities of daily living, such as making meals and bathing, are part of this care. Care coordination often extends outside the home, from notifying Mom’s healthcare provider that her new medication you picked up today upsets her stomach to asking your sister to pick up the emergency replacement prescription. Making appointments, scheduling meal deliveries, and ordering medical supplies are other examples of coordinated care.
Tips for family members involved in coordination of care:
- Hold a meeting. Make your loved one’s needs and preferences be known. Family and friends involved with care services can establish lines of communication and information sharing.
- Record notes. Make sure information is shared with everyone involved. Group emails, texts, and calendars are easy ways to keep information shared and updated.
- Delegate Tasks. Avoid confusion with consistency and repetition. For example, Jan always fills Mom’s prescriptions. The pharmacy misfiled her warfarin, and instead of giving her 1mg pink tablets, they gave her 4mg blue tablets. Jan would recognize that this was not the color of pill she normally picks up for Mom. If Bill always takes Dad to and from physical therapy, Bill can ask Dad how he feels after, and keep records of how treatment is progressing.
- Settle Disputes. More people, more problems. Each person may think their way of caring is the best, but their loved one’s preferences should always be taken into consideration. Compromise may take a neutral party such as a counselor, pastor, or healthcare professional.
- Seek Outside Help If Needed. Caregiving can be overwhelming. Perhaps your siblings who live far away will agree to participate in your parent’s care by proxy. Examples include hiring a professional housekeeper, paying for medical or non-medical in-home care services, or setting up ride share and food delivery accounts for your parent.
Benefits of a Coordinated Network of Professionals
Approximately 85% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and 60% have at least two, compounding the stress and responsibility of family members who are also providing dementia care. When your loved one requires care beyond your physical or emotional limits, professional care coordinators can help. Professional care coordinators recruit reputable care providers who will work together to improve quality of care, avoid dangers of polypharmacy, and speed recovery.
Having your loved one’s care team managed and monitored by a professional point-person could help doctors spot and slow disease progression and effectively manage multiple symptoms caused by disease, illness, and injury. That’s because, with a coordinated network of professionals, all pertinent patient information reaches all the right people. Clear communication families and team members, especially when a patient’s goal line shifts or protocols are changed, reduces the risk of rehospitalizations due to outdated care plans or misunderstandings.
Coordination of care also helps patients and their families navigate the healthcare channels efficiently and effectively. It can catch potential gaps in care, including interrelated medical, social, developmental, behavioral, educational, or informal support systems, as well as insurance and other financial matters, in order to achieve optimal health, wellness, or end-of-life outcomes and peace of mind for families.
Some professional care services that can be coordinated include:
- Home health
- Medication and diabetes support
- Memory care
- Physical, speech, and occupational therapies
- Social workers
Remember, caring for someone with memory loss is not an individual sport. It takes a full team of family members and specialists to provide the absolute best all-around quality of life for your loved one with memory loss.
Ask about our coordinated care teams at YourLife™ of Pensacola! Give us a call today. 850-290-2632
The Memory Care Your Loved One Deserves.
Offering the very best in Memory Care, YourLife™ of Pensacola was designed specifically with residents in mind. We’ve created a community where residents can define their own lifestyle, based on their preferences, needs and story, all while having the peace of mind of 24-hour support and the freedom to define their own lifestyles.
Because we focus solely on Memory Care, all our resources and attention are on catering to each resident’s needs while providing unmatched peace of mind for families. Our licensed nurses and YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists are on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide personally inspired care and support, no matter your needs. With such dedicated care, our residents have the support they need to live as independently and engaged as possible.
At YourLife™ of Pensacola, YourStory comes to life. Whether you want to enjoy our exclusive activities and YourStory programming, spend time exploring our services and amenities, relax in our easy-to-navigate Memory Care neighborhoods and living areas or try something new, the choice is entirely up to you.
Call us at 850-290-2632 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.