The facts are startling: a recent study conducted by the Annals of Family Medicine revealed that a typical primary care physician has a “panel” of as many as 2,000 patients – those who are currently under his or her care. Furthermore, the study documented that such a doctor would have to “spend 21.7 hours per day to provide all recommended acute, chronic and preventive care for a panel of 2,500 patients.”
No wonder that we as patients, as well as the doctors themselves, are feeling so rushed and stressed. With the need for so many senior medical appointments, treatments, and procedures related to the many common chronic diseases and effects of aging, it’s crucial that we all take steps to maximize the time we have with our physicians.
In our last blog post, we shared some information and questions to pull together in advance for senior medical appointments. To take it a step further, below you’ll find a helpful checklist with questions specific to two of the most prevalent senior medical concerns: medications and hospitalizations.
Questions to Ask Regarding Medications:
- Will insurance (or Medicare) cover the expense of this medication?
- Is there a generic form of the prescription available?
- What side effects can I expect to encounter?
- How will I know if the medication is effective?
- What should I do if I forget to take a dose of the medication?
- Are there any other medications or foods I should avoid while taking this drug?
- Should I refrain from drinking alcohol?
- How long will I need to take the prescription?
Questions to Ask Regarding Hospitalizations/Surgical Procedures:
- When do I need to check in to the hospital?
- What can I expect prior to the surgery or procedure?
- How long can I expect the procedure to take?
- Where will my loved ones wait for me during the procedure?
- What effects can I expect from the procedure, both short- and long-term?
- What medications will I need to take?
- How long will my recovery period last?
- What restrictions will I have following the procedure?
Think through any additional questions you may have related to your senior loved one’s particular needs, and add them to the list before his or her medical appointment or procedure. A bit of pre-planning can go a long way towards helping the senior feel more in control and relaxed about the procedure he or she is facing.
For more help in planning for senior medical appointments and procedures, and in maximizing time with the doctor, contact the San Jose in home care professionals at Visiting Angels. Check out our full service area.