From the Coordinator Throughout this past year, my roles as a health care practitioner and a family member have overlapped in ways I had never expected, as my father-in-law began to suffer from a severe illness that is slowly taking his life. In the past 11 months, he has endured eight emergency ... Coordinator's Column
Coordinator's Column  |   January 01, 2015
From the Coordinator
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Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Coordinator's Column
Coordinator's Column   |   January 01, 2015
From the Coordinator
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, January 2015, Vol. 20, 3. doi:10.1044/gero20.1.3
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, January 2015, Vol. 20, 3. doi:10.1044/gero20.1.3
Throughout this past year, my roles as a health care practitioner and a family member have overlapped in ways I had never expected, as my father-in-law began to suffer from a severe illness that is slowly taking his life. In the past 11 months, he has endured eight emergency hospitalizations, undergone more than 15 evaluative procedures, seen six different medical specialists, and been prescribed more than 17 different medications. During this time, I have met numerous dedicated, compassionate, talented service providers. Sadly, at the same time, I have been dismayed, frustrated, and angered by an overall lack of service coordination and communication across health care providers and a pervasive culture among providers that suggests that the medical team's recommendations supersede my father in law's requests and decisions about his health care. As the family member most knowledgeable about the health care system, I have become his advocate. I have become his voice when he feels like he isn't being heard or he is too sick to communicate effectively. I have become the person who throws around enough medical and system lingo to make people think I am a force to be reckoned with. At first, I felt guilty about coming on so strongly and for rattling cages. Now, I feel grave concern for patients and families who don't have an advocate or someone to help them navigate the incredibly confusing world we call the continuum of care.
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