A: When you or a loved one is living with a serious illness, it can be difficult to know when to ask for help. Ask yourself the following:
Is the health condition getting worse? Is it getting more difficult to get pain and symptoms under control? Do you or your loved one need more help with normal daily activities? Have there been two or more unexpected hospitalizations in the past year due to the illness? Is it becoming harder to care for yourself or a loved one?
If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, it’s time to consider extra care in the home. The good news is that you have many options. Compare healthcare providers and choose one that best fits your needs. Here are some questions to ask:
How quickly can staff respond to your needs? Are they available on nights and weekends? How experienced and specialized are the healthcare workers? Is the healthcare provider a non-profit or for-profit? Do they put donations from the community back into programs that enhance the care offered to patients and their families? Have you heard good things about the provider from trusted family and friends?
Share your questions with your physician, do some research and empower yourself to make smart decisions about your healthcare.
Information provided by Terry Terrones, RN, MSN, CHPN, HCI Care Services of South-Central Iowa, 103 E. Van Buren St., Centerville, (641) 856-5502, www.hcicareservices.org.