Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Caregiving can feel like a full-time job and then some. You have a million and a half tasks and only a finite amount of time to complete them. It’s inevitable that you’re going to forget about the small things, so that's why it's crucial that you get the most out of your doctor appointments. Here are some things to keep in mind to do just that.
Before the Appointment
Write your questions down ahead of time.
Completed any paperwork before arriving.
Do you need any prescriptions refilled? If so which ones? Have the name and phone number of the pharmacy ready to give the to the nurse.
Work out the logistics like directions and what you will need to do to get your loved one to the appointment on time. Do you need anything special to support your loved one while you are out of the house? (Think bathroom needs)
What symptoms has your loved one been experiencing? (Keep a long noted specifics and frequency)
During the Appointment
Explain the issues to your provider as honest, clear and as straightforward as possible.
Tell your provider what methods you’ve tried to remedy the issue, if any.
Ask the best way to contact the doctor for questions or concerns.
If you’re having tests done, ask when can you expect results. Let the doctor know if you would like the tests results sent to anyone else on your care team.
After the Appointment
Schedule follow up tests, scans and any other appointments that your loved one may need and get it on your calendar.
If necessary, make sure a HIPPA release form is signed so you can get test results for your loved one.
If you are going to need to see a specialist, outside of your health system, be sure to ask for a CD copy of all radiology scans and copies of labs.
Timing is everything
Your commitments have just quadrupled and your once wide-open calendar is getting more cramped and crammed every moment. The last thing you want to do is be waiting in a stuffy doctor's office longer than you have to. In healthcare and in life, timing is everything.
Try and schedule appointments first thing in the morning.
The later in the day you schedule, the more likely your appointment will be delayed. If your loved one cannot tolerate waiting for a long period of time call ahead to see if the doctor is running on time. When possible get in early. Get out early. Get on with your day.
Consider the commute
How long will it take you to get to the appointment? What does traffic look like if you’ve never been before? Plan ahead so you’re not rushing.
As the caregiver, you’re driving the ship. Schedule the appointment when it is most convenient for you. I’ll always ask for specific days and times instead of letting the scheduler direct the appointment.
Does this seem overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's talk about how I can help.