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Serving families in Palm Beach, Martin and Port St. Lucie counties

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Helping Mom Make Good Healthcare Decisions

Judie Rappaport
October 20, 2015

Dear Judie,

Mom’s (81) COPD/Asthma, Arthritis, and muscle atrophy prevent her from completing most daily tasks without assistance, but her brain is remarkably intact. Because her six different medical specialists make her treatment/medications management difficult, her children (45, 49, 52) make most of the decisions. Mom’s demanding control over her care. My sister says her care’s too complicated, my brother feels Mom should control her life, and I have no idea what I think.

- Nancy, Stuart

Dear Nancy,

 

Mom’s not alone; most elders want to maintain control. Good news: research shows involved, disease-educated patients have better outcomes with lower care costs. Bad news; Mom’s complex issues may prove too heavy a burden for her. To help Mom remain more independent, start with these four recommendations:

  1. Ask Mom’s primary care physician if her mental capacity allows her to make safe decisions. If so, give her a strong voice in her care while you and her physicians provide the information she needs to make informed decisions.  

  2. Ask Mom’s physician to meet with Mom and the family to explain her current status, outline options for care, and make recommendations. Be sure she/he includes treatment benefits and the likely consequences of non-compliance.  Record the conversation so Mom can review it later. Do this at every visit.

  3. Present Mom with the pros and cons of upcoming care changes/strategies before implementing them.  

  4. Show respect for Mom’s wishes. If you feel she’s in danger, call her physician.

Be sure to monitor changes in Mom’s emotional and stress levels, and modify your plan for her best outcomes.  

 

Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©

 

 

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Caregiver HelpDear Judie