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The Gatekeeper

Caregivers go to the medical appointments with their partner (patient just doesn’t seem appropriate in this context) and listens diligently to the information being passed on by the medical provider. Many of us taking notes and asking questions to make sure the appropriate information is being passed on; as we have come to realize that our minds are processing information for two now and we cannot possibly remember all. Absolutely, nothing will replace this extra set of eyes and ears. When dealing with a frail body and an over taxed mind, we all tend to forget or misunderstand the subjects. Many times a person with an employed caregiver will ask what the caregiver understood of the conversation with the medical provider which just took place.

A paid caregiver should be extremely careful with parroting back information. There needs to be an understanding between all parties, client, client’s family, close friends, medical provider and caregiver what information will be passed on. Every person has the legal and ethical right to know what information was just transferred by the medical professional regarding them in an appointment. The problem comes when the caregiver passes the information unintentually adding a new spin. A caregiver must have established trust with the partner and a good history of the partner. The best of all situations is that the caregiver attending the appointment with the partner is also the Durable Medical Power of Attorney. Although not always possible, this will be of greater benefit to all concerned.

Should there not be the possibility of the DPOA being in attendance, then it is very good practice for the medical provider to pass along all note to this person after each visit. In our health care world today, those have become the rule and note the exception. As a DPOA we certainly have the right and obligation to notes, test results and any concerns the medical provider needs to share. There is also another part, which has only come about purely be the enactment of our new health care requirements. The DPOA and the partner must agree on who has access to the information and it is the DPOA’s responsibility to maintain that strict knowledge and share that with ALL medical providers. Although the DPOA has always been the ‘gatekeeper’ it has never been as strict as it is at this time.

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