When helping your loved one get the most from their doctors appointment preparation is key. This starts right when the appointment is set. Have a ride too and from planned immediately. As we get older, our abilities and health changes. We also develop more risks for not seeing our doctors. With all other potential stress involved, at least knowing how they will get to their appointment will not be one of them.
Second, find out what is included in the appointment. This may require contacting the insurance company to make sure everything the appointment entails is covered. This can prevent any extra and unnecessary visits.
Third, be sure to have anything and everything that could be needed for the appointment. This may include and not limited to their photo ID, insurance cards or insurance information, forms of payment if necessary, list of medications they are currently taking, any medical records needed, and any medical conditions or allergies the doctor may not be aware of.
Forth, encourage your loved one to speak for himself/herself. This will help your loved one feel less dependent, and ultimately feel better about himself/herself. Have anything necessary to make it easier for your loved one to have good communication. This includes hearing aides, seeing eye glasses, or reading glasses. Let your loved one know, that if they need your help, you will be right there to help.
Fifth, have a spiral notebook dedicated just for your loved ones doctor visits and medical notes. Write down any information that could be useful for the doctor like what you’ve observed about their condition, or what your loved one has told you or complained about regarding his or her condition.
Write down any questions you or your loved one have for the doctor. We often think that if it’s important we’ll remember. However, when multiple things are happening, it can be very easy to forget to ask a question that could be very important. To be safe, write down your questions on the spiral notebook and be sure to ask them.
Another advantage of taking your own notes is that it allows you to take down the information in terms that are easy for you to understand. Also, studies show that what you write down, you are more likely to remember.
Sixth, verify all the information the doctor gives you. It can be easy to misunderstand something very important. This can be risky to your loved one’s health. Verifying the information received from your doctor, with your doctor, minimizes the risk while also allowing your loved one to get more of the doctor visit.
Lastly, write down, then verify all upcoming appointments, lab work, testings, and procedures dates, times, locations, and the doctor’s name and contact numbers. With multiple things going on all at once, it is very easy to write down the wrong information. After you write everything down. Verify, slowly, that all of the information is correct. Have the spiral notebook easily accessible to yourself, a specific caregiver, and your loved one.