4 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Next Doctor’s Visit

Have you ever left your doctor’s appointment and realized that you never managed to discuss the issues that are causing you the most concern? 

This is completely understandable and it happens to most people, not just seniors. The anxiety of getting to your appointment on time, waiting for your turn, and fitting everything into a 15-minute appointment can be overwhelming.

However, as a senior, getting the most out of your doctor’s visit is vital, especially as many older adults live with chronic medical conditions that need to be managed consistently. 

The trick to getting the most out of your doctor’s appointment is being prepared. Here are 4 tips to help you:

1. Be clear about what type of doctor’s visit you need

  • If you’re not feeling like your usual self and suspect that you may have a new or developing medical problem, you need a diagnostic visit.
  • If you have an existing problem and your symptoms have re-emerged or gotten worse, you need a follow-up visit.
  • If you’re in need of a prescription refill for your normal medication, you need a maintenance visit
  • If you need a comprehensive evaluation of your overall health, you need an annual exam. 

When you call to make your appointment, be very clear with the doctor’s office about what kind of visit you need. Once your appointment begins and you start speaking to your doctor about your concerns, don’t be tempted to change the focus of the visit. Instead, schedule a second appointment to discuss your other health concerns.

2. Prepare your medical information

  • If your appointment is not with your regular doctor, prepare a file containing your past medical history. Include any serious childhood illnesses, surgical procedures, current diagnoses, and any relevant medical history from your immediate blood relatives.
  • Prepare a list of any prescriptions or over-the-counter medications that you’re currently taking. On your list, include notes relating to the doses and frequency for all medications.
  • If your doctor has requested any tests or screening, call before your appointment to find out if the results of these tests are complete and in your file ahead of your visit.

3. Document your symptoms between your visits

  • Write down any pain or discomfort you’re feeling with additional notes including the locations where you’re experiencing pain and for how long this pain lasts
  • Take note of any significant changes to your sleeping pattern, energy level, appetite, or bathroom routine
  • Try to identify what seems to trigger or alleviate your symptoms

Having a detailed list of the symptoms you are experiencing will help your doctor accurately diagnose your condition and devise an appropriate treatment plan.

4. Write down any questions you want to ask during your doctor’s visit.

These questions may include:

  • What tests do I need?
  • What is my disease or condition?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Will my insurance cover the treatment?

Bring your phone or a pen and paper to write down what your doctor tells you.

Keep these notes in a safe place where you can review them later to remember and research the conversion.

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