It can be tricky sometimes to get someone to go to the doctor or emergency room for help since an automatic instinct of many residents of Anaheim and elsewhere is to say “nothing to worry about.”
In some cases, it may turn into a battle of wills between a caregiver or family member and the clients receiving in-home care. Clients could also raise all sorts of objections including possible cost, possible effort, possible pain, possible paperwork, or possible effort that will probably turn out to be nothing.
The team at Accredited Home Care has heard and been part of these discussions with many of our clients. We’re familiar with the reasons some clients don’t really want to seek medical help unless something is especially dire, and the reasons why loved ones often want them to get checked up.
Adding to the complication is COVID-19. The pandemic has made it more challenging for people to want to go outside along with more restrictions for people to visit a medical provider. Plus, there’s a fear of possible exposure from being around other sick people, especially for someone who has been trying to be careful to avoid infection.
In some communities, there may be restrictions at medical facilities for people who need help that may not be related to COVID, or that don’t have life-threatening medical needs.
So in many situations, it’s easy to just say “no thanks” when asked to consider getting help. After all, many of us like to think of ourselves as rugged, able to deal with discomfort, or not wanting to bother overworked health care people with something that could be small.
But in other cases, caregivers might need to be more persuasive and insistent since there are some conditions that don’t heal on their own. Or, they may grow progressively worse without medical intervention. Heart attacks and strokes especially have better chances of positive outcomes if treated quickly.
The challenge may come down to expertise: unless a caregiver has medical or nursing training they may not feel comfortable diagnosing what is happening to their client if something feels a little different or concerning. They may prefer to seek expert advice, in spite of what the client thinks. Even if a provider says “everything is good” at least they’ll have the peace of mind that they checked.
When to check
Deciding when to seek help isn’t absolute, and various medical institutions and providers may have different standards.
The University of Maryland Medical Center has a list of definite reasons to visit the emergency department, whether COVID or non-COVID related. These include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Severe or sudden pain
- Vision changes
- Weakness, dizziness, or fainting
- Strong cough that includes blood
- Mental changes including difficulty speaking
- Chronic diarrhea or vomiting
A medical institution may pay particularly more attention to symptoms of chest pressure, breathing problems, and severe cough which could be a variety of conditions but especially could be COVID. Blue lips, chills, or a high temperature also could be warning signs.
The institution also recommends calling your provider for items that aren’t as critical or life-threatening as these on the list to see if he or she recommends a visit.
Health.com has other suggestions for reasons to visit an emergency room, including if you believe you’re having a heart attack; have a serious bone break; major trauma and shock; a possible blood clot; appendicitis; allergic reactions; or have been sexually assaulted. Another possible warning is if you have some of these symptoms plus other health conditions, such as heart conditions or high blood pressure.
Luckily, in our COVID world, there could be more options to get help beyond a trip to the doctor’s office. A doctor’s office may offer the opportunity for a video check-up, where you can speak to the provider via your phone or computer. It won’t be a full check-up but he or she can ask questions about your symptoms and recommend action, such as medication or further treatment.
Or, if there’s an urgent care center nearby, they may be willing to see you for certain less critical conditions. Or if a condition beyond the staff’s capabilities they can always send you to your provider or the emergency room. But at least it will give an expert opinion to back up a caregiver’s opinion.
These can offer more alternatives to a client who might be wary of going to an emergency room or even sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room with other ill patients.
Even if it’s after hours, your primary provider, or at least his or her nurse, may be able to be reached via their answering service. They may be able to give some options as well.
People who want to do their own research into their health should use this month as an opportunity learn more. January is National Staying Healthy Month, and it’s a time to assess your overall health and wellness, including any medical conditions and lifestyle that might impact it.