According to an article recently published by the Kaiser Health Network (KHN) more than 18 million caregivers for older adults are routinely marginalized and ignored within the healthcare system. In “A Practical To-Do List for Family Caregivers,” the experience of Kathy Kenyon, an attorney who is caregiver for her parents is all too common. “On several occasions, doctors have treated this accomplished lawyer like she was an interloper — not the person to whom her elderly parents had entrusted health care and legal decision-making.”
Based upon a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the KHN article provides some helpful recommendations:
- The caregiver needs to make sure that her status as caregiver is noted in the medical records of parents (this should be confirmed at every appointment).
- The caregiver’s ability to provide the necessary care should be assessed.
- The caregiver’s capacity to provide the necessary care should be incorporated into the loved one’s care plan.
- The caregiver should have the necessary training in the medical tasks that he or she will be responsible for.
- The caregiver should know and connect with helpful community resources.
- The caregiver should be given access to medical records and information.
Caregivers are an ever-increasing part of the lives of millions of seniors. Talk to an elder law attorney to make sure you are armed with the necessary documentation and knowledge to make sure your loved one is protected.