Patient care: Interacting with the healthcare network

You are a vital care partner—no caregiver should ever be treated as invisible or not be acknowledged for all that they do and need.

As you move through your care experience, you will come into contact with many different touchpoints in the healthcare network—from doctors and social workers to case managers, pharmacists and many more in between. Because you ensure that the person in your care is well supported, you are an important resource within this network. But beyond the services and supports you provide to your loved one, we believe that you are also a vital care partner. Your healthcare providers should actively participate in helping to integrate you as a valued member of the care team.

Below, we compare different caregiver mindsets. Consider what happens when your outlook goes from one of “I am a resource” to one of “I am a care partner.”

Focus area“Resource” mindset“Care partner” mindset
Taking care of yourself I should be there for my loved one all the time. Any time I take for myself is selfish. I can set boundaries and ask for help when I need it because I am not alone in this process.
Being a good advocate I shouldn’t say anything because I fear that others will be upset with me, or my loved one will not receive the best care. I have a right to ensure that my loved one is receiving the best care and support, and I am free to proactively voice my concerns.
Planning for the future I will accommodate all of the recommendations of my healthcare providers. I can actively participate in planning for the future health of my loved one, and identify what I can and cannot manage.
Accompanying my loved one to healthcare provider appointments I should stay quiet and not voice my point of view. My perspective is valuable in reporting on and suggesting possible changes to treatment or care plans.
Managing famly expectations They are all depending on me, and I can’t let them down. Better I not say anything that will create conflict or rock the boat. Everyone in the family has a potential role to play. I can voice my needs and the needs of the person in OUR collective care.
Providing treatments or nursing care I should be okay managing all of the care needs of my loved one. I can express when I am not comfortable or feeling unsure when asked to undertake specific care tasks.
Click to view table
Table 1

Downloadable resources for patient care

From general practitioners to medical specialists, accompanying a loved one to a doctor’s appointment will be a recurring part of the care experience. To ensure that you get the most from the time with your doctor, we have prepared the following checklist. Use it anytime you are planning to see a doctor, and keep an active folder of your checklists with responses to your questions, feedback from the doctor or follow-up questions you might have for future appointments.

“Preparing for a Doctor’s Visit” checklist

Guide for using this checklist:

Access to information
  • Where possible, ensure that the person in your care indicates to the doctor that they want you to have access to their medical information and that this is noted in their file.
  • In the case of incapacity, be prepared to provide legal documentation of your power of attorney or mandate. Find downloadable templates for your province in the section below.
Involve the person in your care
  • It’s helpful, where possible, to complete this checklist with the person in your care.
Inform your doctor
  • If you can, provide a copy of the checklist in advance to your doctor.
Empower yourself
  • Takes notes during the appointment so you have a record.
  • When note-taking, indicate if you have follow-up questions that will help you clarify information being shared by the doctor.
  • Ask for copies of medical reports or test results and keep them on record.
Download ”Preparing for a Doctor’s Visit” checklist

Pharmacists are important allies for caregivers because they support the treatment of the person in your care. Pharmacists can be easier to access than medical professionals; many do not require an appointment. Repeat visits to pick up medications can mean excellent opportunities for support, information and exchange. Pharmacists can provide guidance on understanding a diagnosis and the treatment process, and help with strategies for medication reminders and what to do if the person in your care is resisting taking their medications. They can also help when you have concerns that the prescribed medication is not having a positive impact or you experience side effects that are difficult to manage.

 

“Preparing for a Pharmacist’s Visit” checklist

Guide for using this checklist:

Access to information
  • Where possible, ensure that the person in your care indicates to the pharmacist that they want you to have access to their medical information and that this is noted in their file.

  • In the case of incapacity, be prepared to provide legal documentation of your power of attorney or mandate. Find downloadable templates for your province in the section below.

Involve the person in your care
  • It’s helpful, where possible, to complete this checklist with the person in your care.

Empower yourself
  • Takes notes during the appointment so you have a record.

  • When note-taking, indicate if you have follow-up questions that will help you clarify information being shared by the pharmacist.

Download “Preparing for a Pharmacist’s Visit” checklist

 

“Tracking My Support Network" worksheet

To help you track your support network, download and fill in this worksheet.

Once you’ve filled it in, and every time you update it, you can share it with your pharmacist, your family doctor and other key members of your support network.

This information can be added to a pharmacy record if your pharmacist needs to communicate with other members of your healthcare network.

Download “Tracking My Support Network” worksheet

To act on someone else’s behalf, at the pharmacy or the bank for example, you need written permission.

While the person in your care can verbally authorize the pharmacy to share information with you, we recommend getting that permission in writing, so you can use it in different places.

The following provinces and territories offer downloadable templates to help you do this.

Note: A “power of attorney for property” is different from a “power of attorney for personal care” (sometimes called a “proxy,” “directive,” “personal directive,” or “representation agreement,” depending on your province or territory). Powers of attorney for personal care are required in the event that the person in your care no longer has the ability to make their own decisions. Powers of attorney for personal care may be more common in situations of mental health issues or cognitive decline. These should be discussed with your family doctor or a legal advisor.

Alberta

Download Personal Directive form (for personal care)

Download Power of Attorney template (for property)

British Columbia

Download Representation Agreement form (for personal care)

Download Representation Agreement form (for property)

Download Enduring Power of Attorney form (for property)

Download additional certificates, if required

Manitoba

Download Health Care Proxy form (for personal care)

Download Enduring Power of Attorney template (for property)

New Brunswick

Download Health Care Proxy form (for personal care)

Download Power of Attorney template (for property)

Newfoundland and Labrador

Download Substitute Decision Maker form (for personal care)

Download Enduring Power of Attorney template (for property)

Nova Scotia

Download Authorizing a “Delegate” form (for personal care):

Short form

Long form

Download Enduring Power of Attorney template (for property)

Ontario

Download Power of Attorney for Personal Care form

Download Continuing Power of Attorney for Property form

Prince Edward Island

Download Proxy form (for personal care)

Download General Power of Attorney form (for property)

Quebec

Download My Proxy Template

Saskatchewan

Download Proxy form (for personal care)

Download Enduring Power of Attorney forms:

Appointing a Personal and Property Attorney

Appointing a Property Attorney

Non-lawyer witness certificate (to be completed by two witnesses when the witnesses are not lawyers)

Northwest Territories

Download Designating an Agent template (for personal care)

Download Enduring Power of Attorney form (for property)

Nunavut

There are no standard provincial forms for this territory.

Download Enduring Power of Attorney template (for property)

Yukon

Download Proxy form (for personal care)

Download Enduring Power of Attorney form (for property)

*Disclaimer: Resources on this site contain legal information that cannot be used as legal advice. This information is not a substitute for legal advice, and you should always consult a legal advisor if you need legal advice or have any legal questions about yourself or your loved ones.