It's two o'clock in the morning. Your family has gathered in the emergency room, awaiting information on a loved one. Your heart rate is elevated; you feel overwhelmed. The anxiety you're experiencing will likely increase in the coming hours, days, and months.
Medical emergencies disrupt communications and relationships, even in the most stable of families. Who is responsible for communicating with medical staff, often from different specialties? Who will monitor the patient's daily care and progress? Who decides where the patient will go after hospitalization? Who feeds the pets and pays the bills at home?
This handbook is a road map to guide families during this unfamiliar and stressful time. It covers twenty years of navigating the healthcare system as consumers and working in it as practitioners. The book provides a step-by-step chronological list of questions to ask and decisions to make, from the first emergency room visit through aftercare options. It advises on numerous topics, including scheduling surgery, monitoring prescriptions, selecting a short or long-term care facility, assigning friends and family helpful tasks beyond the casserole, and how best to advocate for your patient throughout the process.