"A health policy specialist recently spoke to a community audience about the difficult ethical problems facing family members when serious illness strikes a close relative. After the talk a woman in the audience approached the speaker and said, "That was very interesting. May I ask a question?" "Of course," the speaker replied, "What is it?" The woman said, "Where can I get extra large adult diapers for my mother?"
This incident illustrates two points. First, the basic needs of elderly or ill people must be addressed before they or their family members can think about more abstract or long-term issues. Second, it is very difficult to obtain information about meeting these basic needs, especially when it comes to finding the right products or supplies. The policies and practices of third-party payers - whether private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid - are often confusing and inconsistent. Nevertheless, with a little persistence and some basic information, you can become a more knowledgeable and satisfied consumer. The reward will be an improved quality of life for both the elderly person and the caregiver.
There are two main types of products: durable medical equipment and disposable medical supplies. Both types are used at home to make it easier to manage the basic needs and medical care of elderly, ill or disabled persons. However, both broad categories cover a wide range of products in terms of cost, availability, and effectiveness."
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