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Being the relative of a patient: Tips for long distance patient care

If you are living far away from your parents who have a chronic disease, it points an ultimately difficult situation. If you are wishing to give care to a relative who lives far away from where you are the following starter tips may be of great help.

What is long distance patient care?

Long distance patient care can have a few different forms as follows:

  • A person to take care and provide emotional support,
  • A person who could manage the housework and run everything related to household issues,
  • A person who would take care of the bills and other financial issues.

What could you do to maintain the health condition of your relative  who lives far away from you?

  • Get organised– Take little notes about your relative’s health condition and financial issues. These note must include contact numbers, insurance information, bank account numbers and other vital information.
  • Organise a family meeting– Create an environment where all family members can get together and talk to your relative on the phone or on the Internet. Those kind of meetings where all family members get together also facilitates the process when you will have to reach a common conclusion.
  • Make a research on the illness and treatment methods. This kind of research will make you understand and emphatize with your relative. Thus, you can also learn about the course of the illness. If the illness involves attacks you will be aware of the frequency of those attacks or the course of the treatment. This also facilitates and fastens the talks you will have with the physician.
  • Try to get on really well with those who are taking care of your relative– In order to obtain updated and detailed information about your relative make sure that you have saved the contact information of both the caregiver and the physician and always keep in touch with them. This will enable you to have the current information about the situation at first hand.
  • Ask a friend of your relative to help them– Always keep in touch with your relative’s friends and especially neighbours and have a good relation with them. You might even ask them to visit your relative on a regular base if possible. This will also provide you fresh current of news.
  • Ask for professional help– If necessary, start hiring a professional caregiver to take care everything required. Contacting an elderly care expert might be of great help concerning the issue.
  • Make plans for emergency – For any probable emergency cases your relative might go through, make an emergency plan. Spare some extra finance for unexpected cases.

How do I visit my relative more often?

  • Learn what your relative needs- Before you pay your visit learn what kind of help your relative needs. They might need someone for shopping, there might be something to be fixed at home or your relative might have to be taken outside home. After having answers to all these questions you might have a better decision on visiting your relative with or without a vehicle or the amount of money you would need.
  • Plan an appointment with your doctor– Ask your relative if you need to accompany them during their visit to the doctor. If they also agree on that it is absolutely useful to accompany your relative to the physician. This will enable you to have a direct contact with the doctor and ask various questions regardingthe illness, treatment, medication etc. If you are present during the examination, you are strongly suggested that you should note down the doctor’s recommendations. It might be even more practical to arrange two other appointments with your relative’s  accountant and lawyer during your visit.
  • Spot the problems_ When you visit your relative, try to observe how they can handle their daily routine tasks. Make sure that they can have their meals and pay their bills on a regular basis. Check if your relative is maintaining their personal care, taking their medication or carrying out the tasks that are supposed to handle.  Ask their friends or neighbours if they have spotted a significant change in their daily routine or manners.
  • Spend some quality time with your relative– Pay utmost attention for spending quality time with your relative. You might watch a film with them or you might get their close friends together and go visit them. Sevdiğiniz yakınınız ile değerli vakit geçirmeye özen gösterin. Try to organise some events so that your relative will not feel tired afterwards. You might have something to drink in the living room or just  playing cards and would do.

I am always feeling guilty when I think that I can only spare some limited time for my relative. What should I do?

Most relatives living in a far away place feel guilty for not spending enough time with their relatives or not being able to take care of theirrelatives effectively. If you are also feeling guilty just ask yourself if you are doing the best you can do despite living far away. If you answer the question positively it is better to reming yourself that you are doing your best.