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18 Fearless Years


Gary Barg - Editor-in-chiefPartners All

When my dad and both of my grandparents took ill so many years ago, it was like stepping through Alice’s looking glass. My family, like so many before and after us, entered into a world where everyone else was speaking a strange new language with words and acronyms swirling around our heads as confusing as any Mad Hatter’s tea party. How do you translate hospice, HMO, PPO, infusion, CPAP, GCM, and the like into something understandable? It took a while for us to get our bearings, but of course the real challenge was that our loved one’s caregiving could not stop and wait while we figured these things out. Decisions had to be made; partners had to be chosen.

We caregivers are the care partners for our loved ones. We are their guides as they wend their way through the maze of the medical services, products and insurance systems; we are even the manager for all of their healthcare needs. But who acts as our partner and guide or helps us as we work hard to manage our loved one's care?

Who do we trust to teach us about the products that our loved one’s care professionals mandate us to acquire? What are these strange sounding new products such as drainable pouch clamps, hygrolife heat and moisture exchangers, or pressure line adaptor for ventilation accessories that have been prescribed? And what the heck is a TENS machine? Is it better by one degree than a NINES machine? Not only do we not understand most of the phrases that our doctors and rehab professionals rattle off while stressing how essential these products are, but we don’t even begin to know what they are for, let alone where or how to find them.

Once we have succeeded in finding our physicians, personal support staff, physical therapists and even pharmacists, then it’s time to find the partners we need as we choose the products and equipment that our loved ones require. And frankly, with the Internet, these choices have become exponentially more difficult. I think the way you choose such a partner successfully is similar to how you choose your other care professionals. Certainly, in this case, price is an extremely important element, but there’s a lot more involved. Will they become a trusted resource for information and training? Will they be there when you have questions? Have they created an easy system to navigate? Are they accessible by phone or is it a Web-only wall that you cannot seem to climb over in order to find any human support? And (of course) do they stand by their products?

Since you are now the CEO of Caring for Your Loved One, Inc., like any CEO of other vitally important organizations, who do you chose to work with, what do they offer and, most especially, can you trust them become crucial questions you need to answer. These are all important elements to ensure that your loved one receives the best possible care. And that is true for professional caregivers as they care for their clients, as well.

Now, will somebody please tell me what a TENS machine is?

Gary Barg
Today's Caregiver magazine

Wednesday June 12, 2013


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