KEEPING TRACK OF WHO’S WHO ON THE CARE TEAM
PART 2 IN A 3-PART SERIES
By Wendy Johnstone
Many services are available in the community. Our health care and social systems have services that are provided both publicly and privately. The difference between publicly and privately funded services is based on the type of service and eligibility. Knowing “who does what and in which system or company” can be tricky to track, especially when there are multiple people involved.
Mr. D is a 59-year-old man recovering from a stroke he sustained four months ago. He returned to his home after being discharged from hospital. He doesn’t have a spouse. He has two grown children: one in town, and one out of province. Mr. D is managing in his home. He needs some support in organizing his day-to-day activities and needs some help with reminders. He receives assistance from a private agency for medication monitoring (specifically his insulin) and he has a foot care nurse coming every six weeks. He also receives home support from the local health authority and outpatient rehabilitation at the local hospital. Meal support is provided by a local non-profit organization.
If you ask Mr. D who helps him, he has difficulty keeping track. “I have so many people coming and going and I have no idea who any of them are.” He and his family aren’t alone in feeling this way. Some tips and strategies to keep track of everyone on the care team include:
- List everyone who is helping the care recipient and the caregiver; who they work for; what services they provide; if it is private pay, publicly funded, non-profit, volunteer, family or friends; and when the services are provided. A variety of apps are available for caregivers now or paper and pen still work.
- Keep this list handy in a place that is accessible and visible. Depending on the people/organizations involved and the frequency of services, creating a calendar is a convenient way to organize the list. It is also helpful for the people who are providing services to refer to that the list.
- If possible, keep track of who comes to see the care recipient, and when and what the service or outcome was. For example, a physiotherapist from the publicly funded system comes to see how safe the home is. Write down their name, title, phone number/email address, what they did and have them write out a few key points from the meeting or attach any information left behind. Make a note if a follow up is required.
- Have a list of questions that need to be answered for any assessments by phone or in person. Being prepared leads to better outcomes.
- Think about assigning one person as a primary contact person. A family member or trusted friend can also serve as the caregiver’s point person. Coordinating who is doing what is critical as it can be overwhelming and
confusing for the care recipient to juggle and remember various visits and calls. The primary contact can also relay information to the rest of the family to keep them up-to-date and potentially help fill any gaps.
Next month: The third part in this three-part series will discuss “Finding Your Voice as a Caregiver.”