Navigating our healthcare options can be confusing for all of us at the best of times, and for older adults who are experiencing serious or life-threatening conditions it can be especially difficult. Fortunately, when it is difficult to advocate for ourselves or our loved ones, there are professionals whose job is to advocate for others.
After Leo underwent a bilateral knee replacement surgery at age 80, the results were not optimal. Though he had been convinced by his doctors that the surgery could enhance his quality of life, his recovery was stagnant and he was experiencing a great deal of pain.
Adding to Leo’s frustration was the fact that with English being his second language (Russian his first), he struggled to communicate effectively with his doctors and other healthcare professionals. His mounting confusion about why his condition was not improving, and what options he had for treatment, was leading to anger and depression.
Hoping to improve Leo’s outlook, his doctor at Kaiser prescribed water therapy (exercises and treatments that are done in a pool). But because Kaiser does not provide water therapy, the doctor also handed Leo a phone number for Seniors At Home.
Leo was immediately matched with Laura Sigura, a Seniors At Home Care Manager who researched options for water therapy and met in person with Leo and his doctor to discuss what was available. After deciding to use a local clinic Laura performed a financial assessment and coordinated Leo’s payments for his treatment. She also coordinated transportation for Leo to his appointments when it was needed.
But Leo’s pain and frustration were still obstacles in his recovery. Laura found translation services in Russian and helped him navigate the Kaiser system to secure a second opinion with regard to his pain management options. Laura also kept in regular contact with Leo and provided supportive counseling to help him cope with his disabilities after his surgery.
When a healthcare professional makes a diagnosis or a recommendation for treatment that doesn’t feel right for us, we still might not feel comfortable asking questions or exploring that professional’s decision more thoroughly. However, when it comes to the care of ourselves or our loved ones, it is imperative to ask questions and acquire all the information we need to make informed decisions.
For older adults who are struggling to do this for themselves, Seniors At Home’s Healthcare Advocacy services help navigate the healthcare system by opening lines of communication and facilitating collaborative care between our clients and their healthcare providers.Our team of Care Managers and other experts ensure that clients receive the information, understanding, and support they need to make informed decisions about their healthcare.
Laura Sigura, Leo’s Care Manager at Seniors At Home, says, “Healthcare advocacy is especially important for seniors who may not have a relative nearby and who feel overwhelmed with today’s system of healthcare.”
From accompanying clients to medical appointments and discussing treatment options, to educating families about healing techniques and providing emotional support when it’s needed, Healthcare Advocacy services ensure that clients are comfortable with and in control of their course of medical care. Laura says, “Our clients are still in charge of their own healthcare decisions, but we are there to help make those decisions clearer.”
Today, Leo’s condition is improving. He and Laura have together found effective pain reduction solutions and continue to work with his care team to manage them. Leo’s anger has also subsided, and he is finally able to enjoy his daily activities again.
To find out more about Healthcare Advocacy and Care Management services, contact us online or call us at 415-449-3700.