Why Urgent Care May Not Be Your Best Choice

When you or a family member get sick, do you go to urgent care? If so, you may want to reconsider.

Urgent care facilities have become common. Most people live within close proximity to one or more. These facilities can be handy for quick-fix issues that need speedy attention, but don’t require an emergency room. Urgent care often is open after hours and on weekends, making it a convenient option for busy people. In addition, they are often less expensive than a visit to the emergency room.

Despite all of this, depending on your reason for visiting, urgent care may not be your best choice. Here’s why:

1. Lack of medical history
Your family physician or pediatrician knows you and your children best. They have records of all of your previous visits and are familiar with your medical history. The urgent care facility will not have this same understanding of your background. They will be able to assess your current illness or ailment, but will not have your full medical history to add context to the situation.

2. Possible drug interaction issues
You always want to be careful about drug interactions between anything you are taking now and whatever the urgent care physician prescribes. Because that physician does not have your full medical history, they also may not know what you are currently taking or what you have had experience with – good or bad – in the past. If you do go to urgent care, make sure you tell them everything about medications you are taking now, allergies, or adverse effects you have experienced in the past. Then check with your pharmacist and your family physician to make sure the any medication prescribed by the urgent care physician is safe for you to take.

3. Difficulty following up
When you visit urgent care, you may have trouble following up with the physician you saw. Sometimes the staff you saw at night is not available during the day, or they may hold a position with another medical facility during other hours. Often, the urgent care physician will tell you during your visit to schedule a follow-up appointment with your own family physician. This is always a good idea and will give you the opportunity to address any questions or concerns you had after your urgent care facility, as well as allow your family physician to update your medical history.

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How to Choose an Assisted Living Facility

Do you have a loved one who needs to move to an assisted living facility? There are so many options these days with a range of services provided. How do you choose the one that is right for your family member? Here are a few tips.

1. Involve Your Loved One
This may be a big change for them, one that they may be ready for or nervous about. It will be very different than living in their home with a lot of space and all of their furniture and lifelong treasures. But, this is going to be their new home for some time. Include your loved one in conversations and visits to the facility to help them feel involved in the process.

2. Explore Room Types
Ask the facility what kinds of rooms are available and ask to see them. The options may include single rooms, rooms that have a roommate, single rooms that share a bathroom and/or a kitchen, or larger apartments with a bedroom, kitchen, and a living room area. Facilities vary on the type of rooms they have. Also, be sure to ask what is available at the time of the move in. You want to make sure your loved one is getting the right living space for them and keep an open mind. They may start off thinking they want a single room but actually end up loving having a roommate as they have some company. Everyone is different.

3. Ask About Costs
This may go without saying, but one of the main questions to ask about costs. Be sure the facility representative lets you know about all of the costs associated with living there. What is the cost for each type of room? Are there dining fees, housekeeping fees, or activity fees? When you have a list, ask, “Are there any other fees?” Then be sure to choose the facility and options that fit your loved one’s budget, as well as their needs. Although your loved one may want a large single room, it may be cost prohibitive.

4. Visit at Different Times
If possible, visit the facilities you are considering at different times of day and different days of the week. This will give you a good idea of what your loved one can expect about noise level, activity, available services, and so on.

5. Consider Roommates
If your loved one is considering a roommate, inquire about the medical condition of the person to determine if their medical or other needs may disturb your loved one. For example, if the roommate requires help going to the bathroom and has to go frequently, this may disturb your loved one’s rest. The roommate may talk a lot and your loved one may prefer quiet. Make sure the pairing is a good fit.

6. Room Location
Consider where the room is located within the facility. If your loved one needs a lot of assistance or has many medical needs, you might want to choose a room that is close to the staff desk or the nurses’ station. If, however, your loved one does not like a lot of noise, you may want to pick a room that is located away from the main hallways or staff stations.

7. Choose Furniture
Once you have chosen a room, you should talk to your loved one about what furniture they would like to bring from their home. The facility may offer to provide furniture for the room. If possible, you should try to bring at least a few “important” pieces of furniture from your loved one’s home. The Assisted Living facility will be new and unfamiliar. Your loved one may be apprehensive about moving. Having the room look and feel as much like home as possible will help with the transition.

8. Determine the Change Policy Finally, it is important to find out what your options are if your loved one does not like the room they have selected. Will they be able to move without an extra charge? Whatever the policy, get it in writing from the facility
Preparation and planning will help your loved one’s move to an assisted living facility be successful.

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How to Get Health Insurance for Your Kids

One question I am often asked is, “How do I get health insurance for my kids?” Usually this comes up with the pending arrival of a newborn.

Getting health insurance for your kids isn’t too complicated. Usually, the answer is to talk to your own health insurance company to find out how to add a child to your plan.

If you receive your health insurance through your employer, go to your human resources department. They will be able to tell you how to add a child to your health plan and can give you the forms to fill out.

If you receive health insurance from another carrier, contact that company directly to add your child to your health plan.

If you don’t have insurance (remember: under current regulations, everyone should) or can’t insure your child on your plan, the next place to look is Medicaid. Medicaid offers a Children’s Health Insurance Program, aptly named CHIP. It offers early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment, just as other health plans do.

CHIP has income restrictions, however, so if your income doesn’t qualify you, then you’ll want to go through the health exchange to insure your kids.

One standard that Obamacare brought with it, which now applies to most health plans, is that parents can keep their children on their health plan until the age of 26 if the child is enrolled in school. With the health care discussions happening in the government, check for the latest information about current rules.

As you would for your own health plan, shop around to find the best solution for your family. Make sure your children have a health plan that covers their specific needs. If you know your child will have particular health care needs, review your coverage to make sure it suits those needs.

Want to know more about choosing health plans? Get my ebook set Easy Healthcare: Set Two. It included Choosing Your Health Insurance, and Obamacare, as wells as What You Need First. It is available in all major ebook formats. Get it here.