Adult children we work with in Illinois and Missouri often tell us they are having a difficult time communicating with their older loved one’s family doctor. The concerns we hear range from “they don’t spend enough time with us” to “their different doctors don’t seem to communicate with each other.” It can be a frustrating experience for caregivers and adult children.
We encourage adult children to focus on three areas when working with an elderly loved one’s physicians.
1. Communicating your Concerns
Consider yourself the eyes and ears of your loved one’s medical team. You have the opportunity to monitor and document their symptoms every day. Write them down on a daily calendar. The day before you take your parent to their physician appointment, consolidate all of those notes in to one organized list. Sharing information in an organized manner helps to ensure that your parent receives an accurate diagnosis in the most efficient manner possible.
2. Don’t be Intimidated to Ask Questions
Most of us are a little too intimidated to ask very many questions during health care appointments. It is important to overcome that reluctance if you want your loved one to receive the best care possible. If a physician is unwilling to spend the time with you and your loved one that you need, it might be time to consider finding a new physician. But know that most physicians want you to clearly understand your loved one’s condition and what it requires of you as their caregiver.
3. Create a Medical File and Keep Extra Copies
It isn’t uncommon for older adults to have several different physicians involved with their care. As their caregiver, you should assemble a complete health record for your loved one. Keep a list of diagnoses, treatments, medications, office visit dates and results, and copies of all tests performed. Have an extra set of all of this paperwork in the file. Take all of it with you to each appointment so you can share it with physicians as needed.
The bottom line is that this is a long-term relationship you are building. It is important for your loved one and you – as their caregiver – to feel comfortable with their physicians.