Hospitals can be scary. The strange, strong smell of chemicals and disinfectants, pallid white coats, the occasional cries of pain, can unnerve anyone regardless of how old or young they may be. And, if one has to stay there for a period of time, then the uniformly-coloured walls paired with the food that can put your taste-buds to slow, suffocating death can make the stay as warm as a tumble in ice water.
Nothing about hospitals is warm or inviting, but that does not invalidate the necessity of one. From a sneeze to a seizure, hospitals are one of the most understated saviours. But unlike Superman, hospitals ask for a price. And, at times, this price can strip savings down to zilch. To top it off, when a senior citizen requires medical assistance, these funds have no or limited means to be replenished. Here is where senior citizen health insurance comes into play. Having a health insurance policy can assist a senior citizen in getting quality medical aid without breaking the bank. It helps in providing the proper medical attention a senior citizen deserves. But, only having a health insurance cover doesn’t cut the mustard.
There are certain other things an elderly person requires for a safe and holistic treatment. Here are three things that anyone over the age of 50, looking for medical aid, must have:
No. Advocate here doesn’t mean a lawyer. It simply means a supporter who, at times, can speak up on behalf of the patient. Should something happen to the patient that renders him or her unable to speak (e.g. coma, paralysis etc.), the advocate would do the talking with the hospital authorities and ensure the welfare of the patient. Now, who can be the advocate? Anyone; but preferably, one of these:
- An adult child, or any other family member
- Spouse or partner
- A trusted friend
- An individual from a non-profit organisation that advocates patients’ rights
- Advocate who works for a profit
To take on the services of advocates who work independently or for profit, one must look for their service charges. Even though doctors want to keep their patients in the loop, not everything can be understood and explained to the elderly. Since most of them do not know many medical terms and are unfamiliar with the technicalities, having an advocate who can look out for them in such restrictive settings can be considered an invaluable resource.
Consider the Best Hospital for Treatment/Surgery
Surgery can be intimidating no matter the age of the patient. One must consider the following questions before going in for surgery:
- What if a problem occurs during the surgery?
- What if the doctor makes a mistake leaving the patient worse for wear?
- What if the treatment is not satisfactory?
- What if quality healthcare is not provided?
Consider the history of the hospital to see if they can provide the best treatment possible. The hospital chosen for the surgery can have a huge impact on the life of the patient. One must consider all the risks and possibilities. A hospital may be renowned and respected, but that doesn’t certify that all of its departments have a stellar record.
A single accident has the capability of keeping one in the hospital for a longer period, cutting into the recovery time. Hospitalization for anyone over the age of 50 can be debilitating and any mishap can make it more painful. To avoid this, a senior citizen health insurance plan is a must. It is advisable to have all surgeries done only in top-notch facilities. That way, the risk of a slip up is low. At least, it can make the whole procedure less stressful.
Investigate your Doctor’s Reputation
A medical procedure is a risky affair. Regardless of the nature of the procedure, one must research regarding all the aspects very carefully. But more importantly, check for every doctor whose surgery table you will be on. Look into the doctors’ history and research for their reputation and specialization. Do make sure they are board certified and check for their legal history, i.e. if they have been sued in the past, and if they ever had problems with patients and/or surgeries.
Ideally, one can interview the doctor before a procedure, even though that isn’t possible in an emergency. Having an advocate enables an individual to learn about all possible situations that may occur. One should take his/her time and discuss all the possible options with the doctor. Remember to ask him about all the low-risk practices and procedures. The best surgery is the one which is the least invasive. It not only treats the medical condition, but also shortens the recovery period.
Before checking into a hospital for treatment, it is better to know what to expect. As a senior citizen, one must be clear about the options and alternatives available. Discussing the details with the surgeon beforehand can provide deeper insight and different options. Remember to investigate their work history to ensure that the patient is in good hands. If the need demands, arrange an advocate who can speak with the hospital authorities on the patient’s behalf. All these points facilitate a complication-free surgery.