Tip #1....When you go to the doctor, tell them of any changes; rapid heart beats, tiredness with new meds. Don't just go for that routine visit, and say; every thing is fine; they do not know if you don't inform them. My Mom had extreme heart burn, after eating, she did not inform the doctor, but when I went for a visit, I informed the Doctor and it was just a matter of elevating the head of her bed, or sitting up 20 to 30 minutes after eating.

2.If you have dizzyness tell the Doctor; a good idea is to make a list of questions; this stream lines the visit.

3.Keep a current list of your medication in your pocket, wallet, glove box, refrigerator at home, the EMT's look there for your med list, they have vials you can put in your refrigerator.

4.If you are taking your bloodpressure, pulse at home; write it on your calendar; that way you have the exact day, and also write the time, if you are doing it more than once a day than write the times for each time.

5.Forgetting things? Some of it may be normal, solution= carry a small notepad in your pocket or purse and write it down, I keep one by the calendar or use the calendar, everyone knows where that is.

6.Throw away, expired medication; this can be extremely harmful to your health, some meds, and OTC's(over the counter meds) can modify their chemistry and cause harm. Expired meds never get better. Some hospitals, pharmacy's offer help with this at some of the health fairs, the info as to where these health fairs are is usually given by the news media.

7.My Mom and Dad were self medicating ; using each others meds; don't do this, I know some think it saves money, but medication also goes by a persons; weight, age and whatever you may have, dosen't mean they have it too; many systoms for conditions, diseases; are somewhat the same, but vary. Most side effects of drugs always have something in common like nausea/vomiting/headache but not all drug reactions are the same, you have to read the whole list.

8.If you do not understand a medication; contact the Pharmacy most are very willing to help; or your Doctor's Nurse or the Doctor.

9.If you don't understand what your Doctor is saying ask them to clarify it in plain english, or your language. Sometimes they forget not every one is medical or has not worked in it. They just are busy, and have a lot of training, just remind them.

10.Meals on Wheels is a awesome program, many people think it is charity or welfare; it is government  funded much like a grant, but it is a program; and you pay for them. Everyone throws their money in the pot; and the sum all together pays for it, so see if you qualify and try it. You donot have to fix that one meal, and can take a break.

11. I am not sure I heard that right from the doctor or hospital......take someone with you, and many now   provide written  instructions upon discharge, read it; if you do not understand what is written, ask them to clarify it.

12. You do have rights as every patient does. When admitted to a hospital or even a doctors office should provide you with these rights.

13. With the new privacy acts, you have to list whom you want to see those medical records, and whom they can give information to, even your spouse; these are usually updated with a given amount of time. Be sure to fill out those forms of consent on your privacy; otherwise if you got into some kind of medical problem they could not share it with anyone.

14. Most Doctors offices, Hospitals require you to do most of the work now for insurance; you must contact them for referrals.

15. You have the right to see any inspection reports; for hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living, home health care, boarding homes, etc. It is public knowledge, some have them posted publicly. Ask to see them.

16. When choosing any kind of place to live, some things people overlook......is it clean? does it smell? are the employee's happy working there? Is staff cooperative in answering questions.

17. There are alot of items that you pay for when you are at the hospital; some of these items may include; left over dressings in a box, thermometers, wash basins, water pitchers, underpads, disposable underware, ointments, lotion, soap; so just ask them;"Was I billed for this?"

18. You have a right to pick whom YOU want to buy equipment from, home health agencies, PT,OT.

19. If you are in the hospital; and you are having trouble with the staff ; or your quality of care; YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO COMPLAIN AND TALK TO THE PERSON; MANAGER IN CHARGE; ADMINISTRATION.

20. Does the patient have memory loss; need constant care while in the hospital? Some provide; One on One care; some hospitals provide it some require the patient to pay for it. Can you as the family member/caregiver spend the night? Do they provide recliners or cots? Ask. Sometimes that patient will respond better to a familiar face. Be aware though that alot of health care businesses do not want you to lift or help with transfers because of their insurance. Just ask them how that you can help.

21. If there are signs on the door(hospital or any nursing business, home), to wear mask or gown, do it; you can ask why. Just because it is a family member does not mean that you won't take it home.