I'm searching for a new primary doctor for my cousin who I recently moved to a Secure Memory Unit. Her old primary is fine, but he's too far away now and I need to switch her care to someone who is closer to her. I'm having some difficulty.

I discussed it with the director of the Memory Unit and I listed the names of some doctors who treat a number of their patients. I figured that would be a great choice since they already have a good working relationship, but it's not that simple. I also asked several family friends who are elderly who they used. As I started inquiring about them and other doctors, I have discovered so many negative reviews and/or comments about them in person or on-line.

I realize that perhaps the negative comments could be false, but it causes me concern. Do all medical offices have serious trouble with their staff? Do all these doctors rush you in and out and order many unnecessary tests? For some reason, Patient satisfaction with medical care in this community is very low.

Any suggestions? Oh, I wouldn't take her to my doctor, because my no. 1 primary is in the city where I work and that is too far from her and the one near my home is not that good, because they have you see a PA almost all the time and I don't think they are trained enough or experienced enough to treat someone with dementia. Basically, they have too many patients and not enough actual doctors. It lowers their ability to treat effectively, IMO.

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Oh I know. We had just transferred my cousin to her present doctor in Septemeber due to a flip with her her old doctor, whom I loved. I went to visit the man in charge of that decision, along with many other avid patients only to be ignored. The best doctor was let go due to some business deal. So sad.

Anyway, there are no Geriatric doctors listed in this community. There is one place that lists Palliative care on their site, but there are bad comments about that place on line.

One of the referrals I received had a comment that the guy was arrogant, didn't listen and ordered tests like crazy. Should I ignore comments like that? Other doctors received below average marks on their service and professionalism.

I guess I'll just keep asking for referrals.
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At her age and in her condition, a geriatric specialist would be a good choice. You can look at geriatricians or gerontologists in your area to see if you can find one that sounds good. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get a good PCP for older people. There is a trend now for doctors to work out of hospital clinics where everything is managed for them. Some of the geriatric/palliative care programs offered at the clinics are fine. Others are not so good. Some will take Medicare. Others won't. They don't ever seem to be as good as doctors once were -- the old Marcus Welby days are gone, unfortunately. If you are like many, however, you follow your loved one's medications and health, so are important in filling in the gaps left blank by the loss of more involved doctors.

When I had to find a palliative care pcp for my mother, I checked with a clinic associated with one of our local hospitals. It has worked out okay, though it's not warm and fuzzy. It was bad that about a year later, her new doctor at the clinic left. The good news was they transferred her case to another doctor with the clinic.

Don't you love modern health care? Everything seems so cold and unstable.
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