If you are a family caregiver and feel overwhelmed with juggling appointments with various physicians, trips to the pharmacy, lab work, managing medications and special nutritional needs for a senior you love, you’re not alone! Long-term health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, COPD, and arthritis afflict many older people – and quite often, they’re battling up to three or even more conditions at the same time.
When several doctors are involved, there is an increased potential for conflicting treatments and negative medication side effects. For family caregivers, it can be incredibly tough to help an older loved one manage all of the tasks involved in dealing with multiple chronic health issues and several healthcare providers.
One essential step to take to stay on top of a senior’s various health care needs is by following a structured system 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 wish to discuss. These guidelines from our providers of home care in Waukee, IA and nearby areas can help ensure you’re prepared:
Information to Cover at Each Doctor’s Appointment
- Concerns about medications. Maintain a consistent log to track the effectiveness of the senior’s medications, in addition to any potential side effects. Make note of any surrounding circumstances that could be significant. For instance, record if the senior took a medication before breakfast and felt queasy, but was okay the following day when taking it with food. Don’t forget to include positive effects too, such as how much the senior’s appetite has increased since beginning a medication, or how much better they’ve been sleeping. And of course, record any negative side effects that cause concern and report those to the physician right away as opposed to waiting for the next scheduled visit.
- Care priorities. Talk with the senior about the outcomes they hope to accomplish with treatment, taking into consideration their comfort, health needs, and lifestyle. For instance, the senior may place pain management as a high priority, or they may want to avoid pain medications in favor of a more natural approach. They may want to retain the active lifestyle they are accustomed to without feeling tired from a certain kind of medication. All of these types of decisions are crucial to share with the doctor.
- Benefits vs. risks. Ask the doctor to explain what the potential pros and cons are for each recommended treatment. This will enable the senior to carefully consider if the advantages will outweigh the risks. If there are any concerns, determine whether additional options are available. It could be that a less aggressive approach to care is available with fewer risks.
- Clarification and confirmation. Take notes during the appointment on what the doctor says. At the end of the visit, repeat back to the doctor a synopsis of what you’ve written to ensure everything is documented correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask additional questions that emerge as well. It is important to take the time needed to ensure the next steps are clear and that any new or existing treatments do not interfere with the other chronic health conditions a loved one is managing.
At-Home Care Company’s experts in home care in Waukee, IA and the surrounding areas are available to accompany seniors to medical appointments, procedures, tests, and more, to help guarantee all directions are understood and followed. Give us a call at 515-292-2650 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.