If you are a family caregiver and you’re overwhelmed with balancing appointments with various doctors, trips to the pharmacy, lab work, managing medications and treatments and special dietary needs for an older person you love, you are certainly not alone! Managing multiple medical conditions like arthritis, COPD, diabetes, and heart disease is a reality for many people age 60 and over.
When several doctors are involved, there is a greater potential for conflicting treatments and negative medication side effects. For family caregivers, it can be especially challenging to help an older loved one manage all the tasks involved in dealing with multiple chronic health issues and various healthcare providers.
One way to stay on top of a senior’s various medical care needs is by following a streamlined process for doctor visits. Prior to each appointment, it is important to take the time to prepare a list of questions to ask the physician and make note of any issues you and the older adult would like to share. These tips from our experts in in-home care in Algonquin, IL and the surrounding communities can help ensure you are prepared:
Information to Cover at Each Doctor’s Appointment
- Medication concerns. Maintain an ongoing log to track the effectiveness of the senior’s medications, together with any potential side effects. Note any surrounding circumstances that may be important. For instance, document if the person took a medication before eating and felt queasy, but felt fine the next day when taking it on a full stomach. Make sure to include positive effects as well, like how much the senior’s appetite has improved since beginning a medication, or how much better they have been sleeping. And naturally, report any negative reactions that are cause for concern to the physician right away instead of waiting until the next scheduled appointment.
- Care priorities. Consult with the senior about the results they want to accomplish with treatment, taking into account their lifestyle, comfort, and health needs. For instance, the senior may highlight pain management as a number one priority, or they might want to stay clear of pain medications in favor of a more natural approach. They might wish to retain the active lifestyle they are used to without feeling tired from a specific type of treatment. All of these kinds of decisions are essential to share with the doctor.
- Advantages vs. disadvantages. Ask the physician to clarify what the potential advantages and disadvantages are for each suggested treatment. This will enable the senior to carefully consider whether or not the benefits will outweigh the potential risks. If there are any concerns, ask if other options are available. It could be that a less aggressive approach to care is available with fewer risks.
- Clarification and confirmation. Take notes throughout the appointment about what the physician says. At the end of the visit, repeat back to the doctor a synopsis of what you’ve written to make certain everything is properly documented. Do not be afraid to ask any additional questions that come up as well. It is very important to take the time needed to ensure that the next steps are clear and that any existing or new treatments do not interfere with the other chronic health conditions a loved one is managing.
Inspired Home Care’s professionals in home care in Algonquin, IL and throughout the nearby areas are available to escort seniors to medical appointments, procedures, tests, and much more, to help ensure all details are understood and followed. Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 to learn more about how our home health care services can help a senior with multiple health issues live a healthier, safer, and more comfortable life in the home.