If you just started advocating for your Elder, you may not be sure of medical history, prescriptions/medications or other doctors and specialists that are treating him or her. Even if you are a seasoned advocate, you may forget to ask a question as you may feel rushed due to the Doctor’s busy schedule.
These tips will help you maximize each visit to the doctor
- Make sure your Elder has a primary care physician who can organize care: especially if there are multiple specialists involved. They should be able to focus on overall wellness and aligning specialist recommendations.
- Write questions in running notebook and take with you to each appointment: your recorded answers will be helpful to review once you get home and for the other care givers.
- Be prepared to communicate changes in health in chronological order to assist physicians with diagnosis and appropriate testing
- Bring a copy of all medications, dosages, and frequency to each appointment, even if you may not be seeing an actual physician
- If new medications are prescribed, inquire if there is a generic or alternate version as it may be a less costly option
- Ask for written directions on a prescription pad if drug samples are offered and make sure you can read the handwriting
- Clarify that your current pharmacy contact information is accurate
- Take your notebook to each physician for continuity, thus ensuring all providers have the same information
- Have any old medical records organized and in a folder if the physician wishes to review
- Inquire about potential referrals to professionals who make home visits if your Elder is becoming homebound, barber/hairstylist/, dentist, podiatrist, etc. They should be able to refer someone to you.
As our health system changes, it is more important than ever to make each interaction with physicians and professional care givers as efficient as possible. Using these tips you can be assured you will maximize the time spent with those organizing and caring for your Elder: Going to the doctor may seem overwhelming but keeping these tips in mind, you will be more organized, empowered and able to handle any health situations that may arise.
Are there any additional tips that may help others? Please share in the comments section below.