Any advice on how to communicate with healthcare professionals?

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Having worked in the medical field for 30 plus years..write down what your concerns are, write down suggestions, ideas.Then ask..they won't bite, we are happy and glad to answer questions and address concerns.We love "brains storming" if need be.Ask if required, for all involved to attend...that includes social workers, nurses,doctors and so forth.A little secret, medical staff enjoy sharing knowledge and insight.So get writing and ask. Good luck
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these are great suggestions. i think it helps if you think of you and the doctor as a team. be pro active and research a bit info before you go in. Be specific. for example if you are asking about a new behavior, how often does it happen? is there a trigger? the doctor is the medical expert but YOU know what is "normal" for your parent. don't ask the doctor insurance questions. write down your questions ahead of time. current list of meds and medical history stored in a place like your cell phone is a HUGE help. if you are overwhelmed or don't understand, tell the doc. I used to work for patient accounts at a hospital as well as an insurance company and my dad's recent hospitalization was so complicated i could barely keep up. good luck and please keep us "posted" :)
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It would indeed be helpful to know a few more details about your situation; are you talking about communicating with a PCP, or with clinicians in the hospital?

For primary care visits, there usually isn't a lot of time. As a former PCP doc, I suggest you send in a written list with all your concerns ahead of time,with the most important ones at the top. (Whether or not the doc will read it before the visit is another story; depends on the doc and on how the clinic is organized.)

Agree with the person who said aim to have 3 issues discussed during the visit. It's hard to address more than that, but I think it's in your interest to let the doctor know everything that's on your mind, and a written itemized list is a good way to do this.

Also, if you're a caregiver, even if you don't have permission to access your loved one's records, you can always send your observations and concerns in writing to the doctor...I've had it happen often, and it's usually good information for me to know.

Good luck!
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In addition to all these excellent posts:
Behavioral issues are tricky. I got to where I would write the doctor a note and not discuss it in front of mom who would always deny any behavior problems. It was better than bickering with her at the office, where she managed to put on a show of sanity.
I always have a current list of meds and history with me in my mom bag. They are golden when doctors, caregivers or hospitals are involved.
By all means you must ask and investigate on your own via the internet. I could fill a library with everything the doctors haven't told me in the past 16 years.
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My brother and I are primary caregivers for my 87-year-old dad who had a stroke a year-and-a-half ago. My brother came up with the idea of using G-mail, which has a Google Drive and Calendar and a place to start documents. Since I am dad's health-care POA and handle all of his medical appointments, etc., I have documents in there that list all his meds (and mom's, too) as well as lists of all doctors with contact info; dad's medical history; pending appointments; past medical appointments with dates and what happened at those appointments; and a list of pending medical tasks and questions. If I need anything, I print it out and take it with me to the doctor's appointment. And since the Google drive is an extremely secure site, other family members with passwords have access to this info. When I started this journey a year-and-a-half ago with dad's care, I felt I was plunged into a new world and hit a steep learning curve. I am NOT a medical person and I found it overwhelming dealing with doctors. I had to ask questions over and over and took many notes so I wouldn't forget what was said. I am quiet by nature but had to quickly learn to be assertive and be a strong advocate for dad. I have learned doctors mean well but often, they don't speak in layperson's terms, nor do they always have the best solutions to a problem. Sometimes, it's best to take a breath, step back and allow yourself to reflect on various options. I hope this helps.
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What exactly do you mean? Is this for you or someone else. If for someone else, you need a Health Care Proxy along with permission from the person you are caring for.

If for yourself, you just talk to them. They're people like everyone else.
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You need to make sure you are authorized to have access to the medical records and you want to have good records of their medical situation. Nobody will care for your loved one as good as you so it's on you to be prepared.
Here's a great article which includes several tools to help you stay organized: togetherinthis/memory-problems-6-ways-prepare-doctor-together/
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As a retired RN now caring for parents and husband, Veronica91 has the best way to start....as soon as you or someone you know is diagnosed with a chronic health problem that will require regular followups or referrals, PUT TOGETHER THIS HISTORY as she suggests! Make copies, and then when you must visit a new doctor or physical therapy etc....just grab a copy and take it. I am finding at age 70, that even I am becoming a poor historian who cannot remember what year this or that happened to me.....and my parents have totally lost their abilities to remember historical health issues. I also agree with Ferris and others above....write out your questions ahead of time. Try to ask no more than several questions about issues in a short appointment. If you need longer appts, tell the scheduler you do and ask for it! In my case, I am a long distance caregiver for parents and cannot drive 5 hrs to go to each doctor with them, so I put together a fax or email summary of my observations and concerns to send the day before the app't. Also, sometimes I ASK for a phone call to me during the app't, if a parent will be given instructions that need to be reinforced. Parents with dementia will not remember what is said at an appt. If I am on speaker phone I can hear the doctor's instructions and then be able to reinforce the plan later. Most of my parents doctors are very responsive to the help of the fax and the email option because it helps them during the app't time too.
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I agree strongly with writing down your concerns and questions. I would also suggest you pick only the top 3 questions or concerns to discuss at any one appointment. I believe you will get more complete answers if the list is not overwhelming for both you and the health care professional.. Make a follow up appointment in 2-3 weeks to further discuss other concerns. Make the appointment specifically for discussing concerns and questions and let the person scheduling the appointment know your main concern for example " to talk about problems I am having with depression, or concerns about my parents health care" I think the best thing is to not mix and appointment for a routine medication or blood pressure check with other concerns because it changes the focus and time scheduled for your appointment. (dont' take this as time being the most important part, a good health care professional will make the time to talk with you even if it is at follow up appointment) Best wishes
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As a retired nurse, but caring for my husband, the best way to communicate is probably to ask a lot of questions when you don't understand either medical terminology or directions, and be an advocate for both yourself and your loved one with dementia. Since you don't elaborate why you want to communicate with medical professionals, I can't say much more. Most of us are happy to answer questions and educate.
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