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Top 5 Reasons Caregivers Call Healthcare Providers: Insightful Guide for Health System Executives

Health systems can serve as critical lifelines for family caregivers—those relentless warriors who provide unwavering support to their loved ones. As an executive in the healthcare industry, understanding the motivations and challenges that caregivers face can provide valuable insights to improve system responsiveness, streamline services, and enhance caregiver satisfaction. Here are the top five reasons caregivers call healthcare providers for support.

1. Medical Guidance

“Caregivers have an inherent thirst for knowledge. They want to provide the best care possible and yearn for medical guidance to make the right decisions.” – Dr. Ellen Makar, a nurse and caregiver advocate

Health systems are often the first port of call for caregivers seeking advice about a patient’s medical condition. As per a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving, 72 percent of caregivers stated that they need more information related to the medical tasks they have to perform. From understanding treatment regimens and managing side effects, to gauging the progression of diseases, caregivers grapple with the complexity of medical issues. 

To meet these needs, health systems must bolster their ability to provide clear, concise, and easily accessible information to caregivers. Enhanced communication can empower caregivers, contributing to better patient outcomes and overall satisfaction.

2. Care Coordination

Coordinating appointments, managing referrals, and navigating complex health systems can often be daunting tasks for caregivers. According to a survey by AARP, about 46 percent of caregivers are involved in complex care coordination tasks, such as managing multiple healthcare providers and services. Health systems play a crucial role in simplifying these processes and ensuring a smoother healthcare journey.

3. Insurance and Billing Issues

“Healthcare isn’t just a service; it’s a complex financial product. Understanding it requires time and a deep understanding of both health and finances.” – Michelle Singletary, financial journalist

Insurance policies and billing procedures are often cited as one of the most confusing aspects of healthcare, and this holds true for caregivers navigating medical bills and insurance claims on behalf of their loved ones. A 2019 Health Affairs study revealed that 56 percent of family caregivers found managing health insurance and government benefits challenging. 

As health system executives, it is imperative to ensure that family caregivers receive education and clarification about insurance and billing matters.

4. Emotional Support and Counseling

Caregiving, while rewarding, can often be stressful. In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that 55 percent of caregivers felt overwhelmed by the amount of care their loved one needed. 

The demands of caregiving can strain mental health, making psychosocial support a crucial component of holistic care. Health systems must acknowledge this and provide platforms for counseling and emotional support for caregivers, in addition to providing medical care for patients.

5. Access to Resources and Education

Family caregivers need resources and education on caregiving tasks; many of them enter their caregiving role with no background. According to a study conducted by Home Instead, Inc., 66 percent of caregivers expressed the need for training, particularly in coping strategies, personal care techniques, and medical/nursing tasks.

Education can be a powerful tool to enhance a caregiver’s competence and confidence. Providing access to relevant resources can empower caregivers, resulting in improved quality of care and caregiver well-being.

Supporting Caregivers Strengthens the Healthcare Systems

It is evident that caregivers call healthcare providers for a variety of reasons, including seeking medical guidance, coordinating care, clarifying insurance and billing issues, accessing emotional support, and obtaining relevant resources for education. Recognizing these needs is an essential first step towards enhancing system responsiveness and caregiver satisfaction.

Indeed, this understanding forms the very bedrock of organizations like Trualta, which is committed to empowering caregivers through education and community support. 

Trualta’s comprehensive online learning platform provides practical, personalized, and interactive lessons on various caregiving tasks. This ensures caregivers are equipped with the necessary skills to provide quality care for their loved ones.

Moreover, Trualta also recognizes the critical need for emotional support. It offers chat rooms where caregivers can share experiences, gain insights from peers, and find solace in knowing they are not alone in their journey. Trualta has also introduced support groups in which caregivers can seek advice from experienced peers and professionals. These support groups offer both guidance and a sense of community, fulfilling another vital need that caregivers often express when reaching out to health systems.

As health system executives, incorporating comprehensive approaches that cater to the diverse needs of caregivers can lead to an enhanced caregiver experience and improved patient satisfaction. This holistic approach can serve as a guiding principle for all health systems aiming to optimize their services for patients and caregivers.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy sums it up aptly: “Caregivers are the unsung heroes of our healthcare system. Their role is not only critical but also profoundly impactful on the lives of those they care for.”  In recognizing and empowering caregivers, as Trualta does, we can create a more responsive, accessible, and efficient health system.

The time is now for health system executives to recognize these challenges, empathize with the family caregiver’s journey, and evolve our health systems to better cater to the needs of this vital group. The recognition and empowerment of caregivers, indeed, may be one of the most impactful healthcare strategies to consider.

5 Essential Steps to Developing a Comprehensive Caregiver Support Program

Want to develop a caregiver strategy but don’t know where to start? We’ve got the map you need to accomplish your goals. Read our 5 Essential Steps to Developing a Comprehensive Caregiver Support Program and learn what how to map a program to your communities needs, who to involve, and where to start.

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