Advocating for your loved one can be a difficult task. You should ensure that you are comfortable taking on this responsibility and have ongoing conversations with your loved ones about their wishes for end-of-life care. One of your most important responsibilities will be to communicate with your loved ones healthcare providers to ensure your loved ones' wishes are honored.
How to talk with a doctor if you are a healthcare agent:
- Establish open communication with the doctor.
- Make an appointment to speak about your loved one's care.
- Be assertive in expressing your wishes. Clearly state the reasons behind your requests without being hostile.
- Ask questions. To be effective and to make informed decisions, learn as much as possible about your loved one's condition and prognosis.
- Ask about the goals of the treatment plan - often. A physician's definition of recovery can be different from what is acceptable to you or your loved one. Seek the assistance of a social worker or patient representative if necessary. Such professionals can help improve communication between you and the physician.
- Don't be afraid to speak to the facility's administration. If the physician is unresponsive, go directly to his or her superiors, including the chief of medicine, risk manager, hospital lawyer or administrator.