An apple a day keeps the doctor away, until it just simply doesn’t cut it anymore. We have all been there, dreading an upcoming doctor appointment. Whether it is just your annual check-up, or a particular health issue has arisen, it is good to be prepared prior to your appointment.
If it’s a new doctor, it can be useful to have a document typed up beforehand that you can bring along for your or your loved one’s appointment. All doctors require their own paperwork to be completed, so this would not be in lieu of that, rather supplementary. This document could serve as a helpful guide to reference during the appointment and an opportunity to provide the doctor with additional details, especially if your health history is complicated. This way, it will allow you to focus on what the doctor is saying. The document should include the following, as it applies to you:
1.) Provide a timeline of symptoms, significant health events, procedures and or surgeries – estimate on dates as best you can
2.) Medications tried in the past and if and when they were discontinued, along with an explanation as to why they were stopped – estimate on dates as best you can
3.) Current medications and dosages
4.) Past and current therapies and treatments – along with what has worked for you and what has not
Furthermore, if it is a new doctor or even your current doctor, call about a week prior to the appointment to ensure any medical records, blood work, imaging, etc. has been received. Sometimes things fall through the cracks and it’s important to follow-up. Calling about a week ahead will give you some time to make the necessary phone calls to ensure the doctor receives everything.
Again, all of this prep work ahead of the appointment saves time in the long run and allows for a productive doctor appointment and possibly a better outcome.
According to Medscape, as of 2018, over 60 percent of the physicians surveyed, stated that they spend between 13 and 24 minutes with each patient.
Therefore, it is important to be direct, honest and to come with your questions written down to help stay on track and to not forget anything. Don’t be afraid to ask about something you read online that you felt might be relevant to your situation. Doctors these days are used to patients being well informed, thanks to the Internet. Ask if you can follow up by phone or email, in case you run out of time and don’t get all of your questions answered.
If you feel as though your concerns are not being taken seriously, you do not need to stay with that particular doctor. It is ok to go to another doctor and to get a second opinion. You need to be at a place where you feel comfortable and your voice is being heard. Your health is vital and having a doctor you can trust, can make all the difference in the world.
Also, as an older adult, it is a good idea to bring a family member or friend to your appointment. It can be hard to catch or remember all that the doctor discusses and that person can take notes or help you ask questions.
Here at Denver Senior Care consultants, we have knowledgeable professionals available who can go along with you to doctor appointments. A professional can assist with any and all that has been discussed thus far and advocate on your behalf.
Ultimately, taking these steps mentioned prior and during your doctor appointments can lead to quicker resolutions to health problems or a more accurate route of ongoing treatments. It may take a little more time and perhaps some boldness, but you and your quality of life are worth it.