As a caregiver, you accompany your client or loved one nearly everywhere they go – depending on their physical and mental capacity. From eating together to running errands, caregivers are always by the side of the person they are caring for. In turn, they build a certain level of rapport with their client or loved one that others may not have.
This raises a question: how can caregivers utilize this close relationship to help improve their loved one’s health and quality of life? For example, it may be as easy as accompanying him or her to the doctor’s and serving as an intermediary between the doctor and the patient.
A recent study found that caregivers help doctors communicate better with their patient. The study found that out of all of the elderly patients who came in with a caregiver, 70% of these companions provided the doctor with additional information while 67% asked additional questions. Caregivers act as a sounding board and can ensure that the patient follows the prescribed care plan based on their needs.
"Continuity of care is a central tenant of an effective patient-provider partnership," said Jennifer L. Wolff, PhD, lead author of the study and an associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of HealthPolicy and Management. "This work suggests that quality of care improvements may result from more productive communication and education that targets both patients and their companions."