Caregiver thoughts #4

Time is a precious comodity (paid-time-off doubly so), so practice good time management.

Organize your to-do’s so you can get them done in the most efficient manner, such as stopping at the pharmacy, supermarket, and post office all in one trip (saves gas too). If you need to take a day off from work for some activity on the house, see what other things you can line up for that same day.

Write things down so they’ll be handy when you need to look them up, and refer to your notes often. This will help with time management by making sure things get done in a timely fashion and when it’s most convenient to do them. Doesn’t matter if you use a notepad, notebook, or something in “the cloud”, so long as you keep track of things.

Simplify things when you can. For example, get a transponder tag for that toll road on the way to the hospital so you don’t need to keep track of change. Use your credit card (just remember to pay it off promptly when the bill shows up) so you don’t have to make trips to the ATM/bank.

It’s ok to multitask in some situations; I learned to pet the cat with one hand while eating with the other, while reading the newspaper.

Use checklists to ensure that critical tasks (like dispensing medications) are done correctly. While this isn’t a time management thing per se, it will help avoid a time-eating “oh shoot”. It’s actually surprising to me that the use of checklists is so recent a thing in health care; pilots have been using checklists practically since the beginning of time, and to good effect, but I digress…

Utilize professional services where appropriate. If your cared-for is at home, there are home health care services that can provide wide variety of helpful services, from in-depth nursing care to just someone who can look after things and give you a break. One such organization is BrightStar Care. A close family member made extensive use of their services in 2013, and I’m using them as well now. I’ll probably write more about them when I have more experience with their services and operation, but so far, I’m quite satisfied.

Being careful with your time will help you adhere to rule #1

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