Caregiving at the hospital
Different challenges face those who help provide care for a person who is hospitalized. For example, caregiving in a hospital requires providing support and acting as a liaison between the patient and the health-care team.
The following suggestions can help:
Play an active role on the health-care team. Seek opportunities to provide information to other members of the health-care team (such as the oncologist, surgeon, attending physician, or nurses) about the patient’s condition that will help the medical team better evaluate and treat the patient.
Communicate with the attending physician. Find out the name of the doctor in charge (usually referred to as the attending physician) who will be coordinating the patient’s care throughout the hospital stay and introduce yourself. Make it clear that you are interested and want to be kept “in the loop” when important results are communicated and decisions are made. Give the nurse and doctor your contact information and make sure that it is clearly included in the hospital record. At the same time, ask the doctor for his or her card and how you may reach him or her if the need arises. Keep a running list of questions to ask the doctor and make sure all of the questions are adequately answered.
Reach out to nurses. Get to know the nurses who are caring for the patient. They are an excellent source of information and support and can answer your day-to-day questions. They can also provide practical tips for caregiving and may provide information and educational materials.
Meet with a hospital social worker or case manager. These professionals can help with any discharge planning issues (when the patient is released from the hospital), including information about follow-up care and payment for additional expenses, such as any special transportation services.
Having legal documents in place is just as important when assisting with care at the hospital as it is at home. Learn more about advance directives.