Select Page
Are you a caregiver who is trying to navigate the healthcare system in some form? Do you feel like a dummy or a scaredy cat? Over the next few weeks, I hope to help you gain confidence when dealing with what can seem like a formidable system. #caregiver #navigatehealthcaresystem #dontdrownindetails #healthcaresystem

photo: Canva

Here are the other posts in this series.

I’m writing this guide for those of you who often feel like I do in the middle of caring for a loved one. I either feel dumb or scared. Sometimes I feel dumb about procedures or policies in the part of the healthcare system I have to deal with.

At other times, I am a scaredy cat who is intimidated by people I need to deal with or caught in the middle of conflicts I didn’t want to be in that I don’t know how to get out of, with offices or situations that seem difficult. I don’t feel I know enough to talk to them about our situation or some aspect of it. When actually, I probably know more about the details of our situation than they do, but I may need to have a more confident approach. As I said, I’m a scaredy cat. It can sometimes just come from being weary too. Can you identify?

How has your summer been with caregiving?

Most of our summer vanished into emergency rooms, hospitals and doctor appointments. I found myself dealing with the whole gamut of the healthcare system. That’s when I realized how helpful it might be for someone to have a guide to help navigate the healthcare system. I know it won’t help with every detail. Those change with new rules all the time. But it should help give you an overview of different aspects of the system so you can function within it.

What parts of the healthcare system do we need to navigate? That’s where we have such a problem. Too many systems overlap and often don’t communicate well with each other.

When caring for a loved one, you are likely to be involved with:

  1. Doctor’s office-Primary Care and his office staff
    -Specialists and their office staff
  2. Hospital-Hospitalist
    -Discharge Planner
    -Social Worker
    -nursing staff
    -other assorted staff
  3. Emergency Room
  4. Home Health Care
  5. Insurance Company
  6. Medicare
  7. Medicaid possibly
  8. Medical equipment company maybe
  9. Pharmacy-either local or mail order or both

Some of you think of yourselves as dealing with only one or two parts of the system and can’t figure out why sometimes you feel very overwhelmed. You aren’t dealing with all of these at once, but can you see why you can get overwhelmed? So many of these interact with each other and some affect your qualifications for others. If you aren’t aware of where you fit and what you qualify for, you will be running in circles all the time.

If you are on medicare, these decisions need to be reviewed each year: your medication plan and your medicare plan.

Then, when it comes to decisions, you have to figure out each year if the medication plan you have for their meds is the best one, or the insurance coverage is the best one. If you are dealing with parents, it would be wise to divide up the decisions between sisters and brothers if you have responsible ones to do it with.

As long as the ones making financial decisions are not simply looking at the price alone. For example, if one person is doing all the care and another is doing all the financial management, be sure the financial person is considerate of the person doing the care and is aware of ALL the costs including her time and effort that cannot be spent on a job.

Here are some of the questions I hope to answer in this series.

  1. What are the different systems you need to be aware of?
  2. How can you work with them for the best benefit for you and your loved one?
  3. How you can get help so these systems will work for you instead of against you?
  4. How can you find a way to adequately care for your loved one without feeling stressed all the time?
  5. How can you learn to be assertive within these systems?
    You don’t have to respond in kind to get help or to work with the system…or get it to work for you. Neither do you have to forget that you are a Christian and stoop to the level of some and use abusive language (cussing is included here) to those who don’t do what you want.

Will you find it to be challenging? Absolutely! One reason is because you are navigating so many systems within the larger one and sometimes the people in those systems don’t even understand how they all interrelate!

You will find yourself doing a lot of waiting! Whether it is on the phone or in person, make sure you have ways to wait happily so you don’t take out your impatience on people who don’t deserve it.

Most of all, you will find yourself doing a lot of waiting! Lots of it. Find a way that you can enjoy those waits. They are unavoidable. Sometimes, they will be in person, sometimes on the phone on hold. You might as well enjoy them. Take things with you that you enjoy doing. Have a hobby such as handwork, reading material, podcasts you can listen to or audio books or something menial that can be assembling. Whatever it is, plan ahead and do it during these times. It helps lessen anxiety and it helps keep you from being impatient while you wait.

I hope you enjoy this intro to our series. Feel free to ask any questions. No questions are dumb.

Please, feel free to ask questions or make comments. Especially if I have given wrong information. Correct it. You won’t hurt my feelings. It could be some of it is different from state to state. But often things change pretty fast. I don’t intentionally want to give false information here. If there are questions in an area I know very little about, I will find people who can give us the answers.

Until next week, I hope this is helpful to you.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,

equip you with everything good that you may do his will,
working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV