How should you prepare for an in-person appointment in this time of Covid?
If you are living with one or more chronic medical conditions, it may seem you are constantly seeking the help of a medical professional. The pandemic of COVID-19 has many people concerned about leaving their home and going to a health care facility and many offices have been encouraging virtual medical appointments. These are helpful but often not as comprehensive as an in-person appointment.
If your doctor recommends an in-person appointment, know that healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, surgery centers and all sites of care are taking precautions to ensure your care is safe and that you are protected. Therefore, you should not postpone necessary care or preventative care such as physical exams, immunizations or cancer screening. Do not hesitate to reach out to your provider if you have any questions about when to seek treatment.
When you make an appointment to be seen in the office, check the visitor policy before you go. Because of the pandemic, some offices are limiting who can come inside. Let the office know if you need special assistance of any kind!
If caregivers are NOT able to be in the room during the appointment, ask if you canjoin the appointment via phone call on “speaker” or videocall (such as Facetime). This can be extremely helpful especially if there are any medication changes, procedures scheduled, or important questions needing answering.
These are some tips to prepare for the appointment of the person you are caring for:
- Arrive on time and make sure the person you are caring for has their insurance cards and ID.
- Bring a current list of medications — names, dosages and frequencies, as well as any refills needed.
- Bring the person’s symptom history that includes where they are hurting or having problems, when their symptoms started (with dates), how long they last, what makes them better, and what makes them worse.
- Bring a list of any changes in their routine such diet, exercise or activity, sleeping patterns.
- Bring their daily monitoring log if you use one (blood pressure/heart rate log, diet log, activity log, blood sugar log).
- Have written list of questions so that you don’t forget a key issue and you can take notes of the answers provided.
- During the appointment, don’t withhold information. Their physician cannot help if you do not honestly give the whole story of what’s going on.
- Get clarification of anything you don’t understand.
- Write down the physician’s answers and directions. Make sure you can hear and understand what the physician is saying.
- If there is a new test, medication or treatment planned, be sure you understand the risks and benefits.
- Ask for patient education materials if available to read when you get home.
Remember medical providers want to help you to the best of their abilities. But YOU are your family member’s best advocate and are an important partner in getting the best care possible for them.
You can find more resources on Parkinson’s Disease by visiting Nevada Caregiver’s Chronic Conditions and Diseases resources.
By Mindy Lokshin