Checklist for Successful Doctor's Visits for Seniors
A doctor’s visit can be a draining experience for anyone, from long waiting periods, to paperwork, to the barrage of complicated information. However, for the aging loved one, the experience can be complicated further by mobility difficulties, transportation, and memory loss. An adult child of an aging parent may be concerned that they won’t be a reliable narrator, forgetting certain details or being hesitant to share the whole story of what is going in their lives. When a wave of new information and changes are thrown at you all at once, it is natural to focus on how the information is going to impact or change your lifestyle and routine and important details for implementation can be easily missed. By the time you are trying to remember where you parked, those next steps may seem fuzzy at best.
There are a few simple steps that you can take to make your next doctor visits go smoothly. Here is our brief checklist for you to follow with your family to ensure the next doctor’s appointment is a successful experience. You will also find a link to a Personal Health Record Sheet template below that can save you a lot of time and hassle.
Checklist for a Successful Doctor Visit
- If your visit is with a new doctor, request that medical records are made available to your doctor in advance.
- Remind your aging loved one of the schedule and confirm they have all needed paperwork, insurance cards, and mobility assistance ready to go the night before. Confirm other details such as if they need to be fasting or well hydrated.
- Write down in advance all the details that you wish to discuss with your doctor and questions that you may have.
- Give yourself plenty of time for transitions, parking, check-in, and filling out paperwork
- Take an iPhone or recording device to reference the conversation later or to pass on to family caregivers who may be unable to make the appointment or live far away. An mp3 file format can easily be emailed.
- Never go alone. Bring a designated listener who can record important information, suggested lifestyle changes, medication or dosage changes, etc.
- Have an advocate ask important questions and get the answers you need. Examples are: What are my treatment options and are they covered by my insurance? What kinds of costs are associated with my treatment or medication? When should I receive my test results and schedule a follow –up test? How can I contact you if I have further questions?
- Create a confidential detailed health record sheet. If you find yourself going to multiple doctors and filling out the same health record forms over and over, you can bring along your own record and either give it to the physician or use it as a reference. We’ve included a personal health record template below for your convenience.
For the generation balancing families, work, and caring for an aging parent, doctor’s visits can be particularly complicated. You may be unable to make a particular appointment date, or you may live far away. You have Sound Options on your side. As eldercare experts, our Geriatric Care Managers are RN’s & MSW’s who can advocate for your loved one in the doctor’s office, capture important information and medication changes, communicate and update the family and take the time to explain information to you and your loved one. Having a neutral professional implement changes will also ensure the doctor’s recommendations are carried out effectively and consistently. Never miss work again for an unexpected appointment. Our in-home caregivers can help loved ones get ready and transport them to their appointments, ensuring safe transfers and reduced stress all around.
PERSONAL HEALTH RECORD :: Reference Sheet
No. 1 :: Contact Information
Name |Address| Home & Cell Phone| Social Security number| Spouse’s Name and Contact Number| Emergency Contact Name & Number.
No. 2 :: Administration
Details for advanced directives, treatment/ healthcare wishes, healthcare proxy and contact information.
No. 3 :: Primary Care Physician
Name & contact number of primary physician| name and contact info for follow-up questions
No. 4 :: Insurance
Insurance Card Number| policy name and number| contact number
No. 5 :: Current Medications
Name of medications (potentially brand name substitute)| dosages and instructions for taking meds (with food, AM/PM)| Name and dosages of nutritional supplements and vitamins (as they may interact with meds)|Pharmacy name, location, and contact number as well.
No. 6 :: Allergic Reactions
Food and drug allergies
No. 7 :: Chronic Illness
Current, on-going, or re-occurring illnesses that you have such as diabetes or arthritis
No. 8 :: Previous Illness
Illnesses that you’ve had in the past 5-10 years, and past significant illnesses
No. 9 :: Previous Surgeries/ Accidents/ Hospitalizations
History of all surgeries and accidents that you’ve had such as a fall, car accident, etc. Include outcomes of previous procedures and treatments such as physical therapy.
No. 10 :: Family History
Any history of a particular disease or illness that runs in your family, if this is known.
No. 11 :: Lifestyle History
Daily habits such as exercise, eating, alcohol consumption, smoking, past drug use, etc.
No. 12 :: Current Symptoms
Symptoms that you have in order of importance| Describe pain in terms of sharp, dull, achy and rank it on a scale of 1-10.
No. 13 :: Barriers/ Environmental Factors
Don’t neglect to talk about issues or concerns in implementing previous recommendations, such as memory loss, finances, transportation, etc.)
Published on March 22, 2013.