Posted by Gerald J. Turner –
It is an unfortunate truth that getting in to see a doctor in America can be a cumbersome process. Sometimes it takes months of waiting to secure an appointment – and this only entitles you to fifteen or twenty minutes to cram in everything you want to talk about. Because of this, it makes sense to make sure you are well-prepared before you visit the doctor.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your medical visits.
1. Fill out the paperwork ahead of time
Many doctor’s offices allow you to fill out paperwork on their website before your visit to avoid unnecessary delays and the possibility of office staff misreading your handwriting. If you are not tech savvy or do not feel comfortable using a computer, ask one of your children or another trusted person to help you complete the forms online, or download a paper copy that you can fill out at home. You should also make sure that all of your paperwork, x-rays, etc. have been transferred from your old doctor if you are seeing someone new. The same goes if you are being referred to a specialist by your general practitioner.
2. Have your medical history ready
Bring with you copies of your medical history along with a list of medications you are taking. You may even want to bring in the bottles with you.
3. Bring notes, and take notes
You should bring notes regarding your concerns and questions. Keeping notes helps to streamline the appointment: you will make the most of the limited time, while addressing all of your concerns. You should also write things down so you don’t forget what the doctor told you during the visit.
4. Bring a support system
If all else fails, then next time you visit a doctor bring along a close confidant to sit with you during the appointment. Studies show that doctors will communicate more clearly when there are multiple people in the room.
5. Make the right appointment with the right professional
The American baby boomer generation is now in its senior years, and these people should consider seriously transitioning from a general physician to a geriatrician, a doctor who specializes in the care of aging people. These doctors have years of training on top of standard medical school and are better at communicating with the elderly and making sure that their physical and emotional health remains stable. Seeing a geriatrician can often improve a senior’s quality of life in ways that the latter had not considered previously.
Taking control of your medical care can seem daunting, but hopefully these ideas will help you to make the most of your medical care experience.
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