Resources for families

Talking to your loved one about recovery options

Often after a sudden illness or surgery, a patient may not have the capacity to determine the best recovery options for themselves. It’s very common that children, siblings, or other family members have to step in and help decide what’s in their loved one’s best interest. It’s a situation that requires patience and caring, but you’ll have the reward of knowing that you’ve been there for your loved one when they need you the very most. If you’re faced with the challenge of helping care for a loved one, here are some ideas to consider.

First steps: Talking with your loved one
Often one of the most difficult aspects of helping care for a family member or loved one is simply getting the conversation started. The key to healthy communication about recovery options is openness and honesty. Make sure to listen to and be understanding about your loved one’s concerns and wishes, while helping them be realistic about options.

Advocating for your loved one
One of the most valuable things you can do for a loved one who is recovering from surgery or illness is to be an advocate for their care. Once your loved one has been admitted to a facility, check in to visit frequently. Talk to nurses, doctors, and therapists to gain knowledge of how their treatment is progressing. Ask lots of questions, and observe every aspect of your loved one’s care. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to help.

Ask for help when you need it
There’s no question about it: helping care for a loved one during their recovery can be overwhelming. Nobody can do it all by themselves. Be sure to get the support you need, either from family members, friends, or other resources. Talk with the Director of Discharge Planning and Unit Manager of your facility–they can be a wonderful source of support and ideas.

Links
There are also a number of valuable resources for support online that can be of great assistance, including:

www.aging-parents-and-elder-care.com
www.nextstepincare.org
www.agis.com
www.familycaregiving101.org