Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care and today I am talking about how to help your parents, have good communications with their healthcare providers.
Right now, we are going to talk about some strategies to use during a visit with the medical provider. Before any medical appointment, you should try to help your parent prepare for the visit. If this is a new healthcare provider they are seeing, make sure they have a copy of their medical history to share with them. If it's a visit to a specialist, as a result of some other event or diagnosis, your parent should bring medical records including any diagnostic or other test results.
When visiting any medical professionals, it's best to keep it to one subject or issue per visit. Have your parent write down questions related to the topic and take it with them. If you or your parent think extra time might be needed, be sure to call a head so the doctor's office can make note of that.
This demonstrates respect for the doctor's schedule, but it also may assure that your mom or dad isn't going to feel overly rushed and can get the information they need. You might not need to go on every visit, but you might hear something they don't, or explain any symptoms or changes that you might see.
If you do go this route, you may need to have your parents fill out a Medical Information Release form, giving you permission to speak with the doctor directly at any time.
Once have the appointment there are some good practices your parent should follow. First, they should ask to sit face-to-face with the healthcare provider. This is especially important if they have vision or hearing issues.
Second, they should take notes and frequently summarize what they have heard to make sure that they have heard it correctly. This also gives your parents the opportunity to ask for clarification on something that might have misunderstood the first time around.
It can also be a benefit to the doctor because he or she wants to make sure that what they are saying is being understood. Remind your parents that it's okay to ask questions. They might not want to appear like a pest, so they often just let things go. But the reality is, this is their health that they are dealing with and it should always be okay for them to ask as many questions as necessary to be comfortable in their own knowledge.
Mom and dad should also ask for any follow up instructions in writing. This way they can refer to it later and if you or other family members have a question, the information will be readily available to review.
Any unfortunate event that either you or your parent is dissatisfied with the healthcare that they are receiving, it's vital that you speak up. If your parents' doctor is part of a practice, ask to speak with the manager at that practice. In either case, your parent maybe referred to another practitioner, if the situation cannot be resolved.
Depending on the nature of the problem, you may also consider filing a report with the state licensing board, responsible for covering that particular healthcare provider. It's important to never fear taking your case to higher authorities. Both your parents' health and that of others, maybe at stake.
In the end, it's important to remember that as more medical options become available and your parents' health changes, it's important to provide them some guidance about how to manage their way through it.
Doing so could result in having a longer and healthier life.