Most people want to be well-informed about things that are important in their lives, but it is very difficult to know everything you need to know about the kinds of health care you might need. Coping with a serious illness, our own or a loved one's, causes a lot of anxiety and confusion. This can be made worse by our health care system ó which is really not a system, but a mix of disconnected, and sometimes dysfunctional, groups, plans, services, and professionals. If what you need is a little help for a short amount of time, you might find that no program or service is available. At another time, when you need extensive care for a long time, thatís not available either! Sometimes it seems that the array of services and qualifications were designed to frustrate. It is important that you have the proper tools to obtain the best and most appropriate care. Although many people are attempting to change the system to make it more usable, there are things that you can do now to ensure that the system works better for you.
How to find help and advice
What to do when things don't go well
A guide to settings and services
How do I pay for these services?
|Copyright © 1999, 2006 by Joanne Lynn. This extract from the Handbook for Mortals by Joanne Lynn, M.D. and Joan Harrold, M.D. is used with permission. To learn more about improving care at the end of life visit the main web site for Americans for Better Care of the Dying.|