If you are a family caregiver and feel overwhelmed with juggling appointments with different doctors, trips to the pharmacy, lab work, managing medicines and special dietary needs for a senior you love, you’re not alone! Long-term health conditions in the elderly such as arthritis, COPD, diabetes, and heart disease are frequently dealt with concurrently.
When multiple physicians are involved, there is a greater potential for conflicting treatments and negative medication side effects. For family caregivers, it can be difficult to help an older loved one manage all the tasks associated with multiple health conditions and several healthcare providers.
One significant step to take to stay on top of a senior’s various health needs is implementing a more efficient plan for doctor visits. Prior to each visit, it is important to take the time to prepare a list of questions to ask the doctor and make note of any concerns you and the older adult wish to share. These guidelines from our experts in home care in Ellicott City, MD and the surrounding areas can help ensure you’re prepared:
Information to Cover at Each Doctor’s Appointment
- Medication concerns. Keep a journal to track the effectiveness of the senior’s medications, in addition to any possible side effects. Record any surrounding circumstances that may be important. As an example, record if the person took a medication before eating and felt nauseated, but was okay the next day when taking it with a full stomach. Be sure to record positive effects as well, including how much the individual’s appetite has increased since starting a medication, or how much better they have been sleeping. And of course, report any negative reactions to the physician immediately as opposed to waiting for the next scheduled visit.
- Care priorities. Talk with the senior about the results they hope to attain with treatment, bearing in mind their lifestyle, comfort, and health needs. For example, the senior may make pain management a high priority, or they could desire to avoid pain medications in favor of a more holistic approach. They may want to maintain the active lifestyle they’re used to without feeling lethargic from a certain type of treatment. All of these types of decisions are crucial to share with the doctor.
- Pros and cons. Ask the physician to describe what the potential pros and cons are for each proposed treatment. This will let the senior thoroughly consider whether or not the advantages will outweigh the risks. If there are any concerns, find out if other options are available. It might be that a less aggressive approach to care is available with fewer risks.
- Clarification and confirmation. Take notes throughout the appointment on what the physician says. At the conclusion of the appointment, repeat back to the doctor a recap of what you have recorded to make sure everything is understood correctly. Do not be afraid to ask additional questions that emerge as well. It is important to take the time needed to ensure the next steps are clear and that any existing or new treatments do not interfere with the other chronic health conditions a loved one is managing.
Home With You Senior Care’s experts in home care in Ellicott City, MD and the nearby areas are available to accompany seniors to medical appointments, procedures, tests, and much more, to help confirm that all details are understood and followed. Reach out to us at 410-756-0959 for more information on how our home care services can help a senior with multiple chronic health issues live a healthier, safer, and more comfortable life in the home.