Medical Care and Appointments

Today I would like to address one of the many challenging aspects in health care whether you are a senior or a caregiver responsible for elderly care. 

Keeping up with appointments, vaccines, list of medications, surgical history, blood work, medical tests, record of treatments, etc. can be challenging at best.  Whether your elder has but a few or many medical conditions, keeping lists of medical history and other medical related issues not only will save both the senior and caregiver time but alleviate considerable anxiety when such information is needed. 

Having cared for an ailing spouse, we found that keeping lists, such as the following but not limited to, not only proved to be of an enormous benefit for us but, kept all medical providers informed and up-to-date plus, hugely advantageous in the face of emergencies.  As mentioned, having such information on hand not only saved time and eliminated a great deal of stress but also, ensured accuracy of records for everything from a regular doctor appointment to unexpected emergency room visits:

·        Current medical concerns, questions for the doctor, including addressing medication side effects, any new symptoms, what the patient is experiencing, how it feels and frequency of events

·        Full list of medications [including medication name, strength, prescribed times a day; as well as, over the counter medications, herbs and other ‘natural’ supplements.]

·        Medical providers with phone and fax numbers plus, addresses

·        Surgical History

·        Vaccines – type and date

·        X-rays – type and date

·        Scan results [from hospital(s) or doctor(s)] on computer disc

·        Record of treatments [i.e. chemotherapy, radiation, blood transfusions]

·        Medical supply listing

·        Need for nutritional supplements and/or services such as Meals on Wheels 

With advancements in technology, many physicians and hospitals offer on-line service which allows for recording all medical information.  However, like us, one might wish to keep their own separate lists to ensure all items are covered.  

When going to any medical appointment it is advisable to 1) have an advocate, 2) have a list of current concerns and questions including addressing medication side effects, any new symptoms, what the patient is experiencing, how it feels and frequency of events and 3) take thorough notes to which the patient and caregiver can refer back to after the appointment, when necessary.  Due to HIPPA laws, it is also of immense importance for the patient to sign a waiver allowing medical staff to release information such as test results and provide answers regarding health concerns to designated care givers or any individual responsible for senior care assistance, medical providers and to whomever is participating in patient care.

Should the patient have numerous questions, it is prudent to alert the staff of such when making an appointment to ensure there is time allotted to address all concerns.  When taking notes, be sure to record any follow-up(s) and instructions.  If something is unclear, do not hesitate to ask for clarification.  If a medication is changed or new one is prescribed, make a notation of name, dosage and frequency required to compare with the final prescription.

On a final note, working with Advise & Protect legal representatives, your senior will be ensured that such documents designating a Healthcare Surrogate, Durable Power of Attorney(s) for practical and financial matters; as well as, a Living Will are set in place well ahead of time.  If your elder is at a distance and you are unable to be present Advise & Protect Senior Care Consultant will ensure that your senior has a representative available for regular appointments and in case of an emergencies.  Advise & Protect will also ensure that a copy of all legal documents are kept on record and you may also submit updated medical records, as mentioned above, to safeguard availability for emergency situations. 

Kindly join me here twice a week as we discuss a variety of issues ranging from medical care and appointments, senior care, senior home help, elder care services, elderly assistance, adult day care, legal issues, diet tips, communicating with aging parents, advice on moving, how to reach out to an aging parent who refuses help, caregiver support and much more.

For those who would like to share their own experiences, advice which might be of help to others, questions or ideas for this Blog please feel welcome and encouraged to do so by commenting below.