My Mother lives in assisted living. Her physical health is deteriorating rapidly. She has many aches, pains, and problems.

She complains constantly and I'm never sure how serious things are. I rely on the nurses at her Assisted Living residence.

Mom becomes extremely agitated when the doctors can't see her right away for whatever ailment occurs. Of course if she's really ill we can go to the emergency room. But I'm talking about things that make her uncomfortable, not true emergencies.

She wants me to do more to convince the doctors to see her right away. Do others have problems seeing the doctor right away? Is there anything I could do to get them to "fit her in"? Wouldn't they say they could see her if they could? Should I switch doctors? I can't imagine anyone good would be any different.

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She expects a same day appointment to be available. Usually she can be seen the next day. But right now she needs to see a specialist for a problem with her esophagus, but he can't see her for 2 days. She loves her regular doctor and doesn't want to see anyone else. I think everyone loves him, which is why getting appointments isn't always easy.

I wonder too if some of the anxiety isn't the beginnings of dementia. I guess it is frightening to have your body falling apart and not knowing if what ever ailment is going to be "the one" that finally does you in.

One of the nurses at her ALF is wonderful and can sooth her, but the other just doesn't seem to have that magic touch. Some of the aids seem to be able to soothe her too. But some are just at a loss. I'm often at a loss too.

Do you mean she gets impatient sitting in the waiting room? Or that she expects there will always be a same-day appointment available? Or that she expects to be seen by 10 am, not 4 pm?

At all the clinics I've dealt with over the years there was always a little slack time built into the schedules to accomodate same-day appointments. When I or a family member has needed quick attention I've also been able to come in the same day or the next day. I have not always been able to see my regular doctor, though. (One of the advantages of using a clinic vs single-doctor practice is that SOMEONE can see you on short notice.)

I think you are right that any one good already established in their practice is not going to have so much flexibility in their schedule to be able to see any patient who wants immedidate attention right now. I would only consider switching doctors over this if Mother often can't get in the same day or next day or that when she does she never gets to see her own doctor.

Personally, when making the appointment I might say something like, "My mother is very anxious and agitated over these symptoms," and if the appointment offered is the next day I might ask if some other doctor could see her sooner, but I don't think I'd press any harder than that.

Can a nurse at the ALF sooth her while waiting for her appointment? Those professionals must have a lot of experience with impatient patients!

I hope someone who works in a clinic or doctor's office will respond to this question.

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