Communicating may be one of the biggest tasks you have as a caregiver. Between health care professionals and insurance companies, friends and family, and the person you’re caring for, it may seem like you’re talking nonstop.
Read on to find out easy-to-use tips to help show you how to listen and share information well. It could help make your life a little easier too.
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Start with listening
Be a good listener. That’s one of the best ways to serve a friend or relative who’s under your care. Pay attention when they share ideas, feelings or concerns with you. Be patient with your responses. If you’re not getting the answers you need, try asking open-ended questions to help draw them out. Here are some examples:
- “Can you tell me about your energy level today?”
- “What would you like me to tell the nurse practitioner or care manager when they call?”
- “Let’s talk about your appetite. How’s it different than it was right after your surgery?”
Take good notes
Keeping good notes will help the person you’re caring for make better health care decisions. It will also help you keep track of what doctors or nurses say. You could log your caregiver notes in a binder or notebook. But think about using your smartphone to record your notes. You can also use an app like Google Keep to type notes and add photos of documents. Then you can upload them to your computer. That makes it easy to share information with others.
Speak up for the person in your care
As a caregiver, you need to speak up for the needs of the patient. Here are a few tips for communicating with health care professionals:
- Make sure providers know you’re a caregiver so they can share important information with you. (The person you’re caring for may need to give permission for you to see their health information.)
- If appointment times aren’t good for you, don’t be afraid to say so. The schedule needs to work for you too.
- Be sure you get the full attention of medical providers. If you don’t feel you are, or you want to speak in private (instead of a busy hospital hallway, for example), ask to go somewhere quieter.
Dual-eligible health plans can also help simplify life for caregivers too
Be clear with family and friends
Family members and close friends can help you as a caregiver. But sometimes there can be communication headaches. Be clear about what you need and how they can help. Let them know that you can’t call to update everyone individually. Websites like CaringBridge are a good way to update everyone at the same time.
Listen to yourself too
While you’re listening to everyone else, you also need to listen to yourself. Don’t ignore your own feelings. You’re taking on an important role as a caregiver. You deserve to speak up and ask for help when you need it.
Dual-eligible health plans offer extra support
Dual-eligible health plans, or Dual Special Needs plans, are for people who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare. These plans typically include many extra benefits* to help simplify life for fully dual-eligible members. Dual plans make it easier to coordinate care for people who need to manage multiple doctors, specialists and care services. By doing so, dual-eligible health plans can also help simplify life for caregivers too.
See UnitedHealthcare plans in your area
Dual-eligible or Medicaid plan benefits can change depending on where you live. Search using your ZIP code to find the right plan to meet your health care needs.
*Benefits and features vary by plan/area. Limitations and exclusions apply.