How to Handle the Unexpected

Hand holding an elderly hand

When something happens to your loved one, we can tell you from experience that the first thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to be incredibly overwhelmed.

Here are some things you can do to keep from being too overwhelmed:

1. Focus on needs. Acknowledge the fact that it’s not going to be easy. You’ll probably need some time to wrestle with the idea of what’s wrong with your loved one. But as things unfold you’ll be able to shift to a fairly decent plan and go on forward. The way you do this is once you know what’s wrong, shift your focus to the needs. What is it that your loved one needs? We encourage you to gravitate towards the medical professionals that you feel closest to, someone you can trust. There will be some that come and go and you won’t spend as much time with. But the primary health care providers, the ones that you spend the most time with, you’ll develop relationships with, and you can get advice from them, “What does Mom, or Dad, really need?”

2. Make a plan. Once you determine those needs you can also use those same people and additional folks to determine “Where do we go from here?” And you seek out the best professionals that will give you the care for your mom and dad as best as possible. Not that it’s easy, but if you focus on the need, and seek out the people who can give you the best advice, then you can best decide where to go from there.

3. Get the caregivers talking to each other. Another thing is, is make sure that the caregiving team you put together is collaborative. Make sure that they will communicate with each other, they will talk with each other so treatments don’t clash in terms of medication prescriptions and recommendations. Make sure that the team is talking to one another and building a plan together.

4. Get your paperwork in order. And there’s one very important thing that your loved ones can do, and that you can do, before an emergency care situation strikes: Get your paperwork in order! Make sure your loved ones have the following legal documents ready:

  • Advance directive to physicians
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Do Not Resuscitate Order

And get these documents made for yourself, if you haven’t already done so. In the State of Texas these three documents are what you need for people to carry out care in a health care facility. The directive to physicians and other parties will advise the health care team of what your loved one’s wishes are. What do they want to do in certain conditions? The medical power of attorney will actually name a person to carry out those wishes, and there won’t be any confusion as to who is in charge of your loved one’s care. The Do Not Resuscitate is important to carry out in certain potentially terminal situations, you know what their wishes are under certain conditions.

Remember, once these events occur it’s chaotic, it’s really emotional, it’s really difficult. But if you focus on needs, focus on the people who can help you plan the care following the needs, and then have your advance directives in order, then you’re in great shape to carry out the wishes of your loved one. If you need help with any of this, please give us a call.