I hear many complaints about doctor visits. As we age, the reasons we visit the doctor increases. The human body is an amazing thing, but for seniors the word "amazing" takes on a whole different meaning. There are noteworthy conversations to have with your physician. These conversations, at the least, need to cover recent incidents; i.e. medicines (refills and new) falls, bumps, breathing problems, swelling, pain, any increase of fatigue, and large decreases of weight. With that being said, how do patients cover topics in the 15-20 minute appointment time with a doctor? Below are some tips for an efficient visit.
1.) I suggest a list with concerns numbered in a priority. The physician will have questions as well, so the time flies by. You will want the most important issues to be discussed first because some topics may have to wait until the next visit.
2.) I have also noticed that many offices require all medications to be brought to the appointment. It is very handy to have a list as well that can be gone through in the event some medicines are gone. Patient memory can be thrown off with any conversation such as high blood pressure.
3.) All offices are busy and run behind, but making notes and being organized will help the physicians. If you are having a hard time remembering what the physician instructs, then you can have a friend or family member take you. It is most helpful if the escort knows your history before you start the appointment. If the physician takes time to go over history, this takes time away from treatment. As an escort, I sit quietly and listen to the conversation while taking notes for use later. Clarification can be made at the end of the appointment.
4.) Last but not least, all seniors should know why they are taking medications and/or using oxygen. Numerous times I have asked why patients are using specific medications or oxygen and the answer is "because my doctor said to." This is not enough information. All patients should know the reasons behind why they are taking medications/oxygen/breathing treatment and should become their own healthcare advocates.
I visit every clinic in Mountain Home, Grandview, and Glenns Ferry often and I know the physicians care about all of their patients. The time restraint that they are under is not reflective of how much they want to help their patients. The more efficient your plan is, the more they will be able to provide. As always, feel free to contact me directly with questions at: 208-591-0527. (Brandie Garltiz, Community Health Care Blogger).