Don’t Waste Time At Medical Appointments
As doctors get more and more busy, it is important to go into your appointment prepared so that you make sure all of your concerns are addressed. Most medical appointments are booked in 15 minute increments-sometimes even less-so going in unprepared can cost you, health-wise.
I have created a Family Medical Log to help keep our records organized. For a limited time, I am sharing our log with my readers for free: FamilyMedicalFile
Tips to Ensure You Don’t Miss Your Opportunity to Bring Up Health Concerns:
1. Bring up the most important concerns early. Before your doctor even begins examining you, speak up and let him or her know what you’d like to discuss. Don’t ignore the small symptoms – they could be related to larger issues.
2. Make a list. Sometimes, in the moment, we forget what has been bothering us, or we get distracted by the doctor’s question and forget the other issues we want to discuss.
3. Don’t be shy. Your doctor has heard every possible concern and seen a lot worse than what you need to share, so whatever problem you have won’t be shocking to him/her. It is much better to discuss it early in the appointment so your doctor can allot the time to examine you with your concerns in mind, rather than a quick once over as he or she is racing out to the next patient.
In addition to discussing new concerns, it is always a good idea to do a check in with your doctor regarding the medications you are already taking. The American Geriatrics Society recently released updated medication guidelines for health care providers which identifies specific medications that seniors should avoid entirely; prescriptions that should be used with caution; and drugs that shouldn’t be taken when certain ailments are involved.
For example, painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can have adverse effects when mixed with certain prescription drugs. It is always important to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking new medications, including those obtained over-the-counter.
Tips for Managing Your Medications:
1. Know Your Medications. Learn the dosages, frequency and side effects. Know why a drug has been prescribed and have clear instructions for use.
2. Keep a List. Write down names, sizes and dosage frequencies. Be sure to include over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies.
3. Keep Drugs Separate. Use original containers and don’t mix everything in one container. If you need to use a pill sorter for multiple medications, only fill the container once a week so that you keep everything in the original container and don’t confuse dosages.
4. Follow Directions. This may seem like a no brainer, but the average adult over 50 has five prescriptions. Be sure you are not confusing dosage information between medications.
5. Ask Questions. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your doctor or pharmacist about new medications and side effects or drug interaction.
Hopefully this will help you better prepare for medical appointments. What do you do to prepare?