It is a natural occurrence that as our parents age, roles become somewhat reversed. The people we used to rely on to take care of us, now rely on us to take care of them. Unfortunately, the elderly comprise the population most at risk for medical malpractice. It stands to reason that as our parents begin to visit the doctor more often, they are more likely to fall victim to medical error. Knowing the risks your parents face and how to advocate for them can help keep them safe.
1. Get to Know the Staff
It is rare that a senior citizen will have a single provider for their medical care. If you are taking responsibility as your parents’ advocate, make sure you get to know each member of their medical team. This includes doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
2. Ask Questions
When your parents visit the doctor, go with them. Ask questions if you have them. Never feel intimidated or put off at an appointment. As your parents’ caretaker, you will want a clear understanding of any diagnoses, tests and treatments.
3. Keep a Journal
Keep a planner or calendar for your parents’ medical information. Write down appointments and, in the notes section, keep track of the medications that your parents’ are on. Take your journal with you to each appointment so you can share the information if needed.
Know which medications your parents are on. You should not only know the names of the medications, but you should also know the dosage, the route of administration and any potential side effects or interactions.
5. Watch for Changes
When your parent is diagnosed with a condition, research it and then watch your parent for changes. Monitor your parent for any change in behavior, attitude or physical ability. If you notice any changes, contact your parents’ doctor.
Knowing how to advocate for your parents’ health can help prevent medical error. If the responsibility has fallen on you to take care of your aging parents, take the time to get to know their medical team and research any conditions they are diagnosed with.
If you believe that your parent has been the victim of medical negligence or error, contact our office. A member of our team will speak with you at no cost and review the details of your case. Call now for assistance or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.