How to Talk to the Doctor: a Senior Health Checklist

caregiver talking with senior woman
Before a doctor’s visit, make a senior health checklist to ensure your questions get answered.

The facts are shocking: a recent study carried out by the Annals of Family Medicine revealed that the average primary care doctor has a “panel” of as many as 2,000 patients – those who are currently under his or her care. Additionally, the research documented that such a doctor would have to “spend 21.7 hours per day to provide all recommended acute, chronic and preventive care for a panel of 2,500 patients.”

It’s no wonder then that we as patients, as well as the doctors themselves, are feeling so harried and stressed. With the need for so many senior medical appointments, treatments, and procedures connected to the many typical chronic diseases and effects of aging, it’s crucial that we all take steps to make the most of the time we have with our physicians.

In our last blog post, we shared some helpful information and questions to pull together in advance for senior doctors’ appointments. To go a step further, below you’ll find a helpful senior health checklist with questions particular to two of the most prevailing senior medical concerns: medications and hospitalizations.

Questions to Ask About Medications

  • Will insurance (or Medicare) cover the charge of this prescription?
  • Is there a generic form of the prescription available?
  • What side effects might I expect to notice?
  • How will I know if the medication is working?
  • What should I do if I forget to take a dose of the prescription?
  • Are there any other medications or foods I should avoid while taking this drug?
  • Should I refrain from drinking alcohol?
  • How long should I take the prescription?

Questions to Ask About Hospitalizations/Surgical Procedures

  • When should I check in to the hospital?
  • What can I expect prior to the surgery or procedure?
  • How long will the procedure take?
  • Where will my loved ones wait for me during the procedure?
  • What effects can I expect from the procedure, both short- and long-term?
  • What medicines will I need to take?
  • How long will my recovery period take?
  • What restrictions will I have following the procedure?

Think about any additional questions you may have associated with the senior’s particular needs, and add them to the senior health checklist before his or her medical appointment or procedure. A little pre-planning can go a long way towards helping the individual feel more in charge and relaxed about the procedure they are facing.

For additional help in preparing for senior healthcare appointments and procedures, and with maximizing time with the doctor, contact Heaven at Home Senior Care. You can reach us online or by phone at (972) 245-1515 to learn more about our Argyle home health care and care in the surrounding areas.