Going to the Doctor

March 25, 2013

post-img2“Hi Mom, how are you doing?”

“Oh, I’m just fine, I feel great.”

“Yesterday Dad mentioned you weren’t feeling well, that your stomach was bothering you?”

“Oh, don’t listen to him, I’m fine. You know how he exaggerates…”

“You know, Mom, it’s been over a year since you saw Dr. Smith. How about making an appointment? Would you like me to go with you?”

Sound familiar? Your parent is showing signs of feeling ill but won’t admit to it. What do you do?

  • Encourage your parent to make an appointment.
  • If they are reluctant, offer to make the call yourself.
    • Ask your parent what is the best time and day to make the appointment.
  • Offer to accompany your parent to the doctor.  It is important that someone they trust is present when talking to the doctor.
  • Talk to them about questions they may want to ask the doctor.
    • List any illness or discomfort they may be feeling in order of priority. Tell them not to be shy about talking about their illnesses.
      • ​“My stomach has been bothering me for the last two weeks and I have no appetite.”
    • Help your parent make a list of questions for them to ask. The doctor can only help if he or she knows what is going on with a patient.
    • List any medications your parent currently is taking and what they are for.
      • These include prescription medications as well as over-the-counter medications
      • Ask how long your parent will need to take these medications.
      • Ask about side effects that may be expected and which side effects are of concern and should be reported to the doctor.
    • Make sure your parent takes along and wears any eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc. They want to be able to understand what occurs during their doctor visit.
    • Bring a pad of paper to write down what is said during the visit; you will want to remember as closely as possible what is said and recommended.
    • Don’t be shy when talking to the doctor. Remember, the clock is ticking so don’t bother with polite small talk beyond a greeting.  Advise your parent to tell the doctor, in their own words, what is bothering them. Add any observations you may have if you are accompanying your parent.
    • If there is a diagnosis, ask:
      • What caused the illness?
      • How long this condition is expected to last?
      • What can be done to relieve the discomfort/illness?
    • Be prepared to talk to the doctor about medical history as well as what your parents’ daily life is like. Include:
      • Social contacts he or she may or may not have.
      • Whether your parent is caring for a spouse/partner? How does that impact his or her own health?
      • Any psychological issues that may be impacting his or her well-being.

The general idea during the doctor visit is to let him or her know what is bothering your parent, what their living conditions are, how they deal with illness and their daily lifestyle. The doctor can better prescribe treatment if he or she understands the patient. Your parent’s input and your feedback will give the doctor a more complete picture of your parent’s daily life, allowing for more appropriate treatment.

During the visit, the doctor will take a medical and family history, they will ask about any current medical conditions and what medications are being taken at this time.

The physical exam will include a blood pressure check, EKG, vision, height, weight, and a basic neurological check for balance and strength. Medicare’s new annual wellness visit includes a cognitive assessment. This test will determine if your parent should get additional testing.

Keep a record of the visit, noting what was discussed, what was recommended and when the next visit will be.

read comments ( 0 )