If you are a family caregiver and your days seem overloaded with keeping up with appointments with various physicians, trips to the drugstore, lab work, managing medications and special dietary needs for an older individual you love, you are certainly not alone! Chronic health conditions like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and COPD affect many seniors – and often, they are battling three or even more conditions at the same time. When several doctors are involved, there is a higher potential for conflicting treatments and negative side effects from medications. For family caregivers s, it can be hard to help an older loved one organize all the tasks related to managing multiple chronic health and multiple physicians.
One important step to take to ensure you’re staying on top of a senior’s various health care needs is by following a streamlined process for doctor visits. Before every visit, it’s important to take the time to prepare a list of questions to ask the doctor and make note of any issues you and the older adults would like to talk about. These pointers from our experts in senior home care in Portland, TX and nearby will help ensure you’re prepared:
Information to Cover at Each Doctor’s Appointment
- Medication concerns. Maintain an updated log to track the efficacy of the person’s medications, in addition to any possible side effects. Take note of any surrounding circumstances that may be significant. For instance, record if the person took a medication before breakfast and felt queasy, but felt fine the following day when taking it with food. Make sure to include beneficial effects too, such as how much the senior’s appetite has improved since beginning a medication, or how much better they’ve been sleeping. Of course, make note of any negative side effects and report those to the doctor right away as opposed to waiting for the next scheduled visit.
- Care priorities. Consult with the senior about the outcomes they expect to achieve with treatment, taking into consideration their health needs, lifestyle, and comfort. For example, the senior may make pain management a number one priority, or they could desire to avoid pain medications in favor of a more holistic approach. They may like to keep up with the active lifestyle they’re used to without feeling tired from a specific type of medication. All of these decisions are important to share with the doctor.
- Benefits vs. risks. Ask the physician to clarify the potential pros and cons for every recommended treatment. This can enable the senior to thoroughly consider whether or not the benefits will outweigh the potential risks. If there are any concerns, find out if other choices are available. It might be that a less aggressive approach to care is available with fewer risks.
- Clarification and confirmation. Make notes during the appointment on what the doctor says. At the end of the visit, repeat back to the doctor an overview of what you have recorded to make certain everything is documented properly. Don’t be afraid to ask additional questions that come up as well. It is very important to take the time needed to ensure the next steps are clear and that any changed or new treatments do not interfere with the other chronic health issue a loved one is managing.
Anthem Home Care’s experts in senior home care in Portland, TX and the surrounding areas are available to take older adults to medical appointments, procedures, tests, and more, to help ensure all directions are understood and followed. Contact us at 361-643-2323 for more information on how our home care services can help a senior with multiple health issues live a healthier, safer, and more comfortable life at home.