Communicating with Health Care Professionals

Being a caregiver can be stressful in the best of circumstances. Trying to navigate through the number of health care professionals involved in your family members' care can feel overwhelming.

Clear communication with the care team can help you to feel less isolated and more involved in developing the care plan for your care receiver.

Following are some ideas about communicating effectively with health care professionals.

  • Know that you can provide unique and valuable insights into your care receivers' habits and preferences.
  • You, as caregiver, have a vested interest in ensuring that your family member receives the best care.
  • Think of yourself as part of the care team.
  • Clear up any misunderstandings regarding care direction, as soon as possible.
  • Know that health care professionals generally have limited time to speak at length with family members at length.
  • Appoint one person to speak on behalf of the family. Do not have all members of the family contacting the health care professionals.
  • Try to schedule a time when the health care professional will be available. Come to the meeting prepared with a list of all of your questions.
  • Be honest about your expectations and needs.
  • Be clear and concise. Voice all of your concerns.
  • Come prepared with a complete medical history, all known allergies, a list of current medications, etc.
  • Bring pen and paper to all appointments to write down important information.
  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand what is being said.
  • If English is not your first language, bring a trusted family member or friend to translate.
  • If the care receiver is having difficulty following medical recommendations at home, inform the health care professional.
  • Actively listen to what the team is saying. If you don't agree, then voice your concern.