Doctor appointment scheduling is one of the basic tasks of caregivers.
Whether it’s for annual doctor visits or an appointment with a specialist, we need to make sure we’re scheduling it right.
It’s also easy to forget important information in the thick of it all.
That’s why it’s also important to have a checklist available so you can maximize your scheduled appointment with the doctor.
Our elders' health deteriorates as they grow older. That’s why it’s important to keep track of their health conditions even if they seem healthy.
According to the National Council on Aging, 80% of adults aged 65 and older have at least one chronic condition. While 68% have two or more complications.
The most common of these include hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.
Some even develop psychological ailments such as depression and anxiety. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are cognitive disorders that may be present.
That’s why it’s necessary to make and keep your doctor’s appointments in check.
Here are some other reasons doctor appointment scheduling is a must for seniors.
Going for an appointment is an excellent way to practice preventive care.
Doctors can examine both physical and mental wellness with annual appointments.
If doctors discover any areas of concern, they can order testing and intervene before the problem worsens.
Immunizations like the flu shot and basic health monitoring are examples of primary prevention.
Secondary prevention examines known risk factors for specific diseases and conducts testing to identify potential issues.
After a diagnosis, the third preventive stage is to enhance health, which usually entails developing a treatment plan.
Regular checkups can aid in identifying problems before they appear. Screening for medication changes and interactions are also important for our elderly.
The aging process can affect the way medication works in the body.
Changes in the body's ability to break down certain medications may cause drugs to stay in your system longer.
So, by not attending doctor's visits regularly, the body may fall behind on its medical needs.
Although visiting the doctor when they're not sick may seem unnecessary, detecting issues early on will help you save money in the long run.
Also, most preventative services are 100% covered by medicare and other insurers.
And although significant tests aren't required every year, routine checkups for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes are vital.
Trust is an enormous factor in keeping our elders healthy. However, there seems to be a huge mistrust in the elderly with the healthcare system.
Lower income and lower educated older adults can be more suspicious of their healthcare providers.
The Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation reported that a third of seniors 50 years old and older feel that health professionals rarely consider their needs.
This distrust can affect the kind and quality of health care service they receive.
As caregivers, we must encourage our elders to be more trusting of our healthcare providers. And regular checkups can ease the level of mistrust they might be feeling.
Doctor’s visits are often brief and on point, especially if it’s a regular check-up.
Some doctors may request laboratory procedures and results before the consultation. This way it’s more efficient to read results and recommend any potential treatments needed.
The laboratory tests usually take one to two days to get results back. If lab tests are completed the day of your appointment, expect a follow up phone call within a few business days to be informed of the results.
So what do you need to prepare for a doctor’s visit?
Here are things you need to consider and be aware of to optimize your appointment.
Make a checklist of information you want your aging parent’s doctor to know.
Note any changes that may have happened since your last appointment. Include any information related to their behaviors, sleeping patterns, decreased balance or physical symptoms you might see.
Did their appetites change? Are you noticing they are becoming more forgetful? Are there any fluctuations in their blood pressure or sugar levels?
Track this information so you can present it to their doctor.
Create a list of current prescriptions, including medications, vitamins, and other supplements they’re taking.
If it helps, a caregiver's journal or health diary can be where you keep all the information about your aging parents. This can be kept in a convenient place where you can access it easily.
You can also prepare any questions in advance so you won’t miss anything with your doctor’s visit.
It also helps to prepare and condition your elders before the appointment date. This way they can mentally ready themselves for the visit.
Ask them how they are or if anything’s bothering them. Take note of these things so it will be easier to bring them up with the doctor during the appointment.
This is where the health diary comes in handy.
Share any immediate concerns with your doctor, especially if your elders encountered any recent falls or accidents.
Take note of any recommendations from your doctor. And if possible, ask for a printout of their suggestions.
It’s a good idea to ask for benchmarks for your senior’s health if this is your first time.
Here are some questions you can ask:
It’s necessary for our elders to feel empowered after the doctor’s visit. After all, their overall health and wellness depend on it.
One of the most important things you should be doing as a caregiver is to implement the doctor’s instructions. The is best done by creating a routine.
Check your loved one’s medications to see if they’re still needed. Throw out expired tablets or vitamins as they are unlikely to be as potent as the specified dosage.
Make sure to arrange their meds in their medicine keeper.
Brief them about timing and schedule, and help them take note of what to take at specific times.
Ask them what help they need and assist them in making decisions. This way you’ll encourage them to feel in control of their health.
Nowadays, patients have the option of seeing online doctors through telehealth.
It is convenient, safe, and also saves you time and effort.
Booking an appointment can be as easy as downloading an app on your smartphone. It can also be less expensive, with pre-paid packages available.
Caregivers are also given the best communication methods with healthcare providers. You can choose from video and phone chat, email, live chat, and text messaging.
Telehealth also offers their patients a wide spectrum of care. These can include treatment for acute and chronic health issues, mental and behavioral health care, prescriptions, and lab services.
Wait times are also much less, compared to waiting in line in the clinic or hospitals. Services can also be available 24/7.
Seniors can wait in the comfort of their own home without worry. There are also apps that offer multiple languages, making it easier to communicate with healthcare providers.
Here are some of the best telehealth apps you can download:
Doctor appointment scheduling is an essential part of taking care of our elderly.
For one, it serves as preventive care and helps keep them healthy and happy.
It also helps us delay and avoid any potential illnesses that come with age.
As caregivers, our goal should include making our elders comfortable during doctor’s visits. It should be an informative and empowering experience for them as well.
Reach out and email me at [email protected] if you have any ideas or suggestions related to preparing for doctors visits. And ask if you need a good recommendation for a caregiver journal.
That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!