Caregiving relationships affect emotional and physical well being. Situations can be frustrating, overwhelming and feel like an uphill battle due to uncertainty and lack of experience navigating situations of care. The life transition of care and support requires boldness, attention to detail and concern for human dignity to ensure that human life is not viewed as a possession or as disposable. The quality and outcome of medical care is determined by the level of professional advocacy. The ability to manage practical aspects of daily life supports independence and choice for the individual in need of care.
Article: Caregiving: No One to Care for Me
Many aspects of caregiving are unfamiliar to family and to professional caregivers. If you’re a professional caregiver you likely have a specialty and know a great deal about your subject matter whether youre an attorney, a CPA or other specialist. The challenge is that care advocacy and navigation, at least until recently, has not been viewed as a specialty or profession. This has resulted in sometimes faulty recommendations by professionals attempting to dip their toe into care advocacy and navigation without having any actual knowledge or experience in the specialty.
I know many attorneys who accept the position of medical power of attorney for a client because the client twists their arm and then the attorney later regrets accepting this position when care needs arise. While the position of medical power of attorney is a legal responsibility, how many attorneys have dedicated years learning the inner workings of the healthcare field, unless healthcare is their attorney specialization? For attorneys in this position, consulting a care advocate or care navigator may make all the difference in the care and quality of life afforded the client for whom they agreed to serve as medical power of attorney.
Even in healthcare, specialties are just that isolated specialties. Physicians, hospitals, nursing homes and home care agency staff are well versed in their individual specialties. The knowledge of these specialties is narrow, as it should be to allow their expertise to serve clients. These specialties lack the expertise to pull together a larger, coordinated effort of care recommendations and care oversight that a care advocate or care navigator can easily provide.
Experts in care advocacy and navigation are professionals whose job it is to perform these duties day in and day out. Clients with health issues who are unable to coordinate and advocate for their own care benefit from the specialty of care advocacy and care navigation just like an individual needing financial advice benefits from a relationship with a financial planner or CPA.
Collaboration among professional caregivers is critical to provide clients the best opportunity for appropriate care and quality of life. Rather than viewing clients as isolated projects or as an isolated health diagnosis, it is important to view clients in light of the larger collaborative picture of needs that include a wide range of areas: legal, financial, healthcare, social, spiritual, family, and care advocacy/care navigation.
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