Medical Escort Services are a relatively new introduction to the world of caregiving, but it does not mean that these services are any less in demand. Medical Escorting, arguably, is a creation of modern urban living, the rise of double income earners and the trend towards smaller nuclear families. Many of us have found ourselves in situations where our loved ones needs caregiving, but due to our commitments with others in the family, or with work or school, we are unable to take time out to properly care for them. Examples could range from taking our elderly loved ones to their regular trice weekly kidney dialysis sessions; or perhaps urgently needing to bring a dizzy sibling back from a medical examination. Life happens, and sometimes we find ourselves double booked with meetings, in the middle of a business trip, or even just out of annual leave. Therein comes help in the form of Medical Escorts. At CaregiverAsia, we are proud to be home to many such Caregivers, including Tina and her team of Medical Escorts.
Tina manages a small group of medical escort service providers, concentrating on elderly and ambulant patients. Like many Caregivers, Tina herself has an interesting work background, which includes working with community services to provide care solutions for means-tested elderly patients and assisting in projects for the visually handicapped such as the Dining in the Dark event. It has all been a pretty experiential journey for her, as she recalled how well-meaning plans could have unintended results, such as her having to deal with "thousands of paper cuts" during an event for the visually handicapped. This has made her gain more insights and empathy towards the needs of the Careseekers left in her charge.
(Photo: Tina and two members of her medical escort team, taken from Silver Page)
These days, Tina co-ordinates and manages a group of her friends who have grown children and are not looking for a full time job – they are passionate individuals, who would like to give back to society in a language that they know best - Caregiving. The team is made up of freelance Caregivers with the key motivation of helping as many people as they can. They only take as many clients as they can handle, and this can already prove quite a handful – sometimes a granny going for her medical escort service has two grandkids to look after, so how does Tina deal with it? It is a slippery slope that many Caregivers face, even if they are specialised like Tina. Through experience, innovation and the desire to go the extra mile, Tina often works with other members of her team, to make the situation "work".
While a typical Medical Escort Service entails picking up a Careseeker from home, helping them navigate through the hospital maze to find the clinic/ doctor that they need to get to, explaining the medical situation to the Careseeker and their family, and getting the Careseeker home safely; Tina has found herself branching out into other areas such as elder sitting, sending people to the emergency ward, and even babysitting special needs children while their parents attend to their own parents' medical situation. Dealing with life requires imaginative and flexible solutions, and this makes Tina and her team extraordinary Medical Escorts.
Indeed, it was through these extra requests that Tina found out sometimes, elderly patients respond better when you can play the Ukulele for them :). In the numerous times that we have met with Tina in real life, she has always been with her Ukulele. We could definitely see how nervous and anxious Careseekers would have benefited from the the positive vibes of Tina and her Ukulele! Mai Tai anyone?
Unikely requests aside, medical escorts sometimes play an important communication role, or cushioning tensions between family members, or between the expectation / understanding gaps between patient and the doctor/nurse. This can also have financial consequences - some patients can be so private that they end up losing out on subsidies simply by keeping to themselves, and preventing others from discovering that they are subsidizable in the first place. In Tina’s view, the biggest problem is that many patients need some form of escort care for a long time - up to eight hours - and it can be costly exercise if one reserves the services of a medical escort for that long. Part of the problem lies in the supply side, and “word needs to be get out more” - people need to know that they can provide such services. Tina also believes that the healthcare system needs to find some way to ensure all gaps are addressed without unduly tying up resources. For example, a medical escort can send a patient from home to hospital - but who handles the patient once he enters the doors of the healthcare institution? Whether it is the same medical escort, the hospital or a third party, somebody needs to ensure the journey from the door to the waiting room is covered. There are definitely efficiencies to be developed in this process.
We wish Tina well in her caregiving journey! You can book Tina and her team right here on CaregiverAsia.
Food for thought indeed. And with this, we hope to continue to spread the word on the help that is available for Careseekers as well as an open invitation for experienced Caregivers to join the CaregiverAsia community. Caregivers who post services on the CaregiverAsia website practice 100% on their own terms, right down to their availability, and service costing. There are no subscription fees nor posting fees for Caregivers.
There are many people looking for care services now, so do sign up online on our website, or call +65 6258 6683 to talk to us.