As we age, we deal more and more with the health care industry. More doctor visits and tests. More hospitalizations. More medications.
And more questions, confusion and stress.
How can we get the best health care results? Jon and I have been thinking about this a lot and learning what we can. I’d like to share some ideas with you in my next few posts.
Of course, you know where I’ll start: with having really good estate planning documents in place. For health care, the most important is the health care power of attorney (where you designate who will make decisions about your health care when you can’t). You want to give a lot of thought to whom you name.
If possible you should choose someone who can be your “medical advocate.” A medical advocate is someone who is willing and available to get involved in your health care. You let your health care providers know who this person is and you make sure they meet your providers. This person is in your corner, and you want everyone to know that.
Most importantly, your medical advocate should accompany you on all doctor visits and hospitalizations. They can help you prepare questions before appointments and make sure you ask about what is bothering you the most. If you are “out of it” they will be the ones asking the questions.
When the doctor gives answers they’ll be making sure that you and they both understand the doctor’s answers. You’ll want to make sure they know you want them to be persistent with your doctor when you don’t understand at first what has been said.
That’s a lot to ask someone to do for you. And not everyone can help this much. But, it’s worth asking. If you can enlist your healthcare agent to be your medical advocate, we guarantee you’ll get better health care.