At Mavencare we provide a full range of home care from companionship to nursing care. With such a wide range, this means that we serve senior clients who differ greatly in ability to care for themselves.
Some clients arrange their own basic care needs, while others require a care lead. When we discuss the topic of care lead, we are often referring to the member of the family that has been appointed to make medical or healthcare decisions. The formal term for this is referred to as a Medical Power of Attorney. This person is appointed by the client for the purpose of making healthcare decisions, but only if the client is not able to make decisions for themselves.
How Do You Know When a Care Lead is Required?
When a senior client calls in on behalf of themselves to coordinate care, their needs are often basic such as: homemaking, assistance with groceries, and companionship. As a standard, we do request the person calling on behalf of themselves have an emergency contact in the event that something happens and they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
When a care lead calls in to arrange care for their loved one, it is often because their loved one is no longer able to make healthcare decisions on their own, or it has been recognized that they are no longer safe in their home alone.
Sometimes the senior is the one who recognizes their mental or physical health is no longer strong enough to make decisions, or their doctor has noticed changes and requested that a Medical Power of Attorney (care lead) be appointed. Depending on the situation, the care lead will independently arrange care for their loved one, or they will assist them in arranging care.
How Do You Appoint a Care Lead?
Most clients have a care lead in place prior to arranging care with us. However, if it is recognized that a client does not have any plans in place, we can assist them in accessing the appropriate resources to ensure they have a plan and support in place.
Traditionally, the care lead is appointed by the client. However, in emergent or catastrophic circumstances, if a care lead has not been appointed, a family member may assume the role.
Whether you are appointed or must assume the role, you should be familiar with your loved one’s wishes. This means asking some difficult questions, but ultimately becoming someone that your loved one can trust and depend on.
A few questions that you need to know as a care lead include:
Does your loved one want to age at home, move in with a family member, or move into a nursing facility?
What is their financial situation and how do they plan to pay for the care they’ll need as they age?
What medical treatments do they want if they become necessary and do they want to sign a do not resuscitate order?
These and many other difficult questions can be brought up in the creation of an Elder Care Plan. This plan will give you peace of mind, and it will allow your loved one to maintain some control over their life if there comes a time when they can no longer make healthcare or lifestyle decisions on their own.
Responsibilities of a Care Lead
The duties of a care lead can vary, especially if there are multiple family members involved in the care of their loved one. However, the general duties of the care lead are:
Organization of Care and Maintenance of Care: They become the primary point of contact to set up care for their loved one. They are also the main point of contact for communications in regards to the maintenance of their loved one’s care and any issues that may arise during this time.
Advocacy: They become their loved one’s voice and ensure that all of their healthcare and basic needs are met.
Decision-Maker: They become responsible for the care decisions and potentially medical decisions of their loved one.
Caregiver: Often times, the care lead is the primary caregiver of their loved one.
Overall, a care lead is in place to advocate, support, and assist their loved one through their health challenges, and they work in collaboration with our entire care team.
Our care teams consist of certified caregivers, care coordinators, registered nurses, and a social worker as needed. Our care teams work together to maintain consistency of care for your loved one.
It is important for each client to have a care lead they can trust so that we are able to communicate with a single point of contact. When decisions need to be made, it is important that the decision-maker has all of the information about their loved one’s care.
If you have any questions or concerns about your loved one’s care, please reach out to one of our senior care coordinators anytime at 1-800-85-MAVEN.