Visiting the doctor can be a stressful and confusing ordeal. This can especially be the case for the elderly who may be unaware of their medical needs and often have a difficult time asking questions or understanding what the doctor is telling them. That’s why it’s important that you, as their caregiver go with them. If your schedule does not permit you to attend, consider asking another family member or a home care professional to attend in your place.
Prepare for the appointment
The more information you bring with you, the easier it will be for the nurses and doctor to provide accurate health information for your loved one. Make a list of questions to ask and put together a list of all the current medications your loved one is taking. Complete any paperwork in advance.
If you need special accommodations during the appointment (wheelchair, etc.), then call ahead to make sure that they are ready for your visit. Plan your route so that you leave plenty of time to get to the appointment.
During the appointment
The goal of the appointment is to collect as much health information about your loved one as possible to help keep them happy and healthy. Consider our top three tips:
- Take good notes. Sometimes, your loved one (and even you) can feel like doctor’s appointments are information overload. It’s difficult to remember everything unless you write it down. Take a notepad with you so you can write everything down.
- Be honest. The doctor can best help your loved one if they are honest about how they’re feeling. Make sure your loved one discloses symptoms, eating habits and whether they are regularly taking their meds. Fudging the truth will ultimately hurt your loved one.
- Ask questions. Sometimes it seems that doctors are in a hurry to get in and out of your appointment. But your loved one should not be afraid to ask any questions – it’s their health and they deserve answers. Their doctor works for them, not the other way around.
After the appointment
Pick up any prescriptions. You can get these on the way home after the appointment or soon after. Make sure your loved one understands their medication instructions and schedule. If you or a home care professional are overseeing meds, ensure that everyone is on the same page, so nothing gets missed.
Review appointment notes. Schedule time for your loved one, you and the other caregivers to review the notes. Discuss any decisions that need to be made regarding treatment and develop any follow-up questions, which should be written down for the next appointment.
Follow through on doctor’s advice. Once your loved one and caregivers understand the doctor’s recommendations, make sure they are followed. This is the only way to ensure that your loved one is as healthy as possible. If questions pop up along the way, be sure to call the doctor’s office for any clarifications.