5 Tips for Working Together with Your Senior Loved One’s Care Team

At some point in her life, your senior loved one may require skilled nursing services.

Skilled nursing facilities offer a high level of care outside the hospital setting for older individuals with health conditions that require constant monitoring, such as illness, post-surgical rehabilitation, or deconditioning. It can be unnerving to entrust the care of your senior loved one to someone else, which is why it’s important that you’re always working together with the members of her care team to ensure that she gets the best possible care.

In order to adequately support your loved one, staff members must assess and adapt to her individual interests, strengths, and needs. Through input from and cooperation with the senior and her family, nursing facility staff members can learn everything they need to know. Being proactive when it comes to your loved one’s care is beneficial not just to her, but to the team responsible for her overall health and well-being. Here are five things you can do to ensure that you’re actively involved with your senior’s care team.

1. Participate in the Patient Assessment

Patient assessments are designed to gather information about how well your senior loved one can take care of himself, and when he may need help with functional abilities such as walking, talking, eating, participating in daily activities, and cognition. Assessments help members of your loved one’s care team provide him with the best experience.

2. Review the Plan of Care

plan of care is a detailed schedule of the responsibilities of each member of your senior’s care team, so that everyone knows which members will provide what care, and when. Care plans must be reviewed and revised regularly to ensure that they are up-to-date. For care plans to work effectively, you and your senior must believe that her needs are being met.

3. Attend Care Plan Conferences

A care plan conference is a meeting where the care team members, patients, and families that are working together meet to discuss the plan of care and life within the facility, which includes activities, meals, therapies, medical and nursing care, and emotional needs. You and your loved one can use these conferences to bring up problems, ask questions, and offer information to help members of the care team staff provide the best care. When planning a care plan conference, it’s important to include each person who is or will be part of the caregiving team, which includes the senior, all staff who provide care to the patient (such as therapists, nurses, physicians, social workers, and dietitians), any family, and any future caregivers.

4. Participate in Care Planning

Communication is key when a group of people is working together. Prior to the care plan conference, help your senior plan a checklist of questions, problems, and goals for his care. Remember to talk to the caregiving staff about your feelings and any concerns, and ask them questions you have about the patient’s care, treatment, treatment options, and any needs he might have. Be sure that he understands and agrees with the care plan, and that he believes it meets his needs.

5. Follow-up Care Planning

After the conference, watch closely to see how the care plan is working. Continue working together with your senior’s care staff by speaking with them if questions or concerns arise. Request adjustments to the care plan if your loved one’s health status changes.

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