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How To Prepare Yourself For a Doctor’s Visit

Judie Rappaport
June 11, 2015

Dear Judie,

Taking my sweet Alzheimer’s Mom (86) to her podiatrist, cardiologist, neurologist, and primary care doctor was never easy, now it’s becoming downright dangerous. I’m so busy preparing Mom for the visit and keeping her calm while we’re there, I forget to ask important questions or forget to bring information the doctor requested. I need help.

- Laura, PSL

Dear Judie,

When I took Dad (91) to his doctor last week, I couldn’t remember several of the issues we wanted to discuss. Dad’s a bit “confused” so he couldn’t help. Now we have to go back. How do other caregivers manage these details?

- Ellen, Vero

 

Dear Laura and Ellen,

You are not alone. Caregiver stress often causes us to forget questions we intended to ask or to leave important information at home. These steps can help you create a system to manage Mom's issues and also make your life easier.

  1. Purchase 3-ring binder notebook for Mom’s medical documents.  

  2. Create one tab/section for each doctor with the doctor’s name, specialty, address, phone number and the medical condition (diagnoses) she treats, the current medications and doses she prescribed.    

  3. On one page, list all alternative therapies (acupuncture, chiropractor, vitamins, cold remedies, appetite boosters, etc.), including frequency of use. Regardless of whether Mom’s doctors have expertise in this field, it’s important they know all of Mom’s medical treatments.  

  4. Keep blank sheets of paper in each doctor’s section. Write down your questions as you think of them and they’ll be ready when you arrive at the doctor’s office.  

  5. During the appointment, write down new instructions, medications, and recommendations—or ask for a copy of the visit record, including new instructions, immediately or via email.

  6. When Mom exhibits unusual or unexpected symptoms or actions, jot them down in the notebook (include date and time of day) so you won’t forget to discuss them with each physician.

  7. Keep an ongoing list of questions. When the doctor answers you, write down the answers.  Later, add your comments for whether or not the doctor’s recommendation/answers were helpful. If not, ask again.

We understand how difficult it may be for you to free up some of your precious caregiving and personal time for these records. You’ll recoup your time investment many times over when you begin using your notebook.

 

Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©

 

 

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Caregiver HelpDear Judie