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Last week, I began a review of an excellent little Kindle resource book for the Sandwich Generation, Knitting with Hospital Gloves: The How-To Guide for Becoming Instant Caregivers, by Karen J. Rinehart. It was so good, I am back with more notes and comments:
- On one packing list for travel and the hospital, she reminds us to pack our laptop and charger. Excellent reminder! I personally prefer my smaller Netbook for the hospital – it's easier to carry with me everywhere. While we have never had any problems at any of the hospitals my senior relatives have stayed at, and all the staff were very professional, several also warned me of times their own items had disappeared, so I carried my bag with my Netbook inside it everywhere I went. That was heavy enough. My regular laptop would have been much heavier! If you don't' have a Netbook, iPad or other Tablet computer or Kindle, it might be worth thinking about getting one as a good investment, particularly for those of us with aging parents who may be in and out of the hospital often. And be sure to check out her comment about cell phones and notepads. Very wise!
- She also includes a great list of questions to ask senior parents or other relatives you are helping if you haven't already gone through the necessary legal and personal discussions needed before a hospitalization. I was very blessed that my folks had done it with me but there were still a couple of excellent food-for-thought items that were useful for me. And I am going to fill out this list and put it in a file for my own kids, just in case.
- She writes that, even with the HIPAA law, she didn't have much problem with the staff at the hospital talking to her, since she was there and concerned. Overall, she may be correct, but I would definitely recommend having your senior relative fill out your name on EVERY sheet given them to fill out. We also add several of the local grandkids' names, just in case I am also ill. I also routinely add a note at the bottom of ANY forms we are given – "I give permission for all information to be given to Kaye Swain, my daughter," and have my senior mom sign it. I've learned the hard way that, even when a medical team assures me that "it's all in the computer no matter where you go," that doesn't always work. So now, I just tell everyone we see, that they can give info freely. And that has been a big help on more than one occasion.
- Another excellent section, "Siblings/Other Family members: How to avoid Conflict," was full of wise words of encouragement and inspiration to help you and your extended family members to all work together to "stay focused on what's best for the patient" and help you take a step back and "see" the different ways family members deal with medical situations like this. It's so important to realize different people do things differently, which doesn't mean they are wrong – just different. An important reminder at all times, and especially during high-stress crisis situations like an unexpected stay in the hospital!
It's definitely a good little book, and very handy to have in your Kindle. Perfect for reviewing on the plane flight to a distant relative or while you are sitting in the hospital waiting room. And speaking of a plane flight, did you see my article on New Year's Eve? Google has a great new website that should be a terrific help for all of us busy in the the Sandwich Generation who have to fly while caregiving. Also, don't forget…