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Mom changed her primary care doctor about 3 years ago. I think the main reason was the new one gave her 10 mil Norcos and the original one would only give her 5 mil. Although the new Dr seemed like he cared about her well being more than the other so I'm not being fair. It's just that I've been trying to get in touch with him for three weeks! He's come by and seen mom once when she was in the hospital and a couple of times in the nursing home. He can't not have noticed that mom is declining mentally very fast. She can't remember what he's said to her and her medication hasn't changed. I know dementia isn't curable but it would be nice to have a diagnosis. I've heard that there is medication that can help slow down some of the symptoms.


This Dr has a good reputation in the community. He goes to the hospital and nursing homes to check on his patients regularly. I've left numerous messages with his office and on voicemail. I started off with " please return my call at your earliest convenience" and am now up to " I've left several messages, it is urgent that I speak with you about mom's care".


The people who answer his phone all know me by first name and are surprised he hasn't responded.


I've spoken with him in the past regarding mom re; her growing incontinence issues etc. Issues I know mom is embarrassed to bring up and he's always been open to talking about her care so I know he's not avoiding me out of fear of breaking confidentiality.


The little I have been able to find out about dementia medications say that the earlier you start taking them the better they work.


I don't want to start stalking the man but I feel like the time to help mom is slipping away.

This man has been your mother's doctor for three years; to date you have had a good functioning relationship with him; and you know he is conscientious; so I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about why you haven't been able to get hold of him over the last three weeks. Could be *anything*. 'Flu, vacation, plain busy... anything! The people who answer his phone have only to be polite and take your call. They could know perfectly well that he won't be back from skiing for two weeks and not be able to tell you that without there being anything at all sinister about it.

All of the suggestions are good ones. Or, you could ask the NH when he does his rounds there, book your mother in to be included the next time he visits, and be there.

I don't want to be a wet blanket, but don't get too excited about the dementia medications. There would be a lot of investigation to be done before you'd even know if they're appropriate for her, and for the type of dementia she has; and even then, even if they are - they help some people in some ways for some time. It's very, very unlikely that your mother is missing out on anything that will make much difference.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I agree with poster below - contact his office manager and inform them of the trouble you’ve been having.

If the practice has a patient portal, as many do these days, make an acct using your mother’s info for a username/password. You can leave the PCP a message via the portal. You may be able to see her labwork on the portal as well.

Three week’s is a long time to wait to hear back.

But another thing, realize that the messages could have been lost. I have found that many doctor offices “lose” requests placed over the phone. I am a RN case manager who must call PCP offices a lot. I know this as fact.

I would not be happy with this situation. When you finally get to speak with him inform him that you’ve left several messages with no return call (in a nice way, of course). He needs to know this. He can bring the specifics to his OM & ask them to investigate. If they are treating many patients like you, it may get an issue he knows nothing about. Many PCP’s defer to their office managers on mostly everything.

IMO the best time to call a PCP is first thing in the morning and leave your first message. Get the person’s name. Then call after lunch if not heard back. Usually a PCP reviews their messages late and will call after hours (some docs I work with call me around 630pm) when the office has closed.

Let his office know about the difficulty you’ve been having. Go straight to the Office Manager first. Good luck.
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Reply to Shane1124
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Are you sure you are listed as a person the Dr can give info to and talk to about your Mom? Did your Mom sign paperwork so indicating that? If your name is not on the paperwork and the dr is not authorized to communicate with you regarding your mother's health, then his hands are effectively and legally tied - HIPPA rules prevent him from discussing your mother's case with you. Check to see that you are on the paperwork first. Then if you are, ask politely why you are not hearing from the dr in a timely manner. If nothing improves, a letter to the doctor's head of staff might be in order, documenting your attempts to reach the doctor (dates and times) and your results (failed attempts).

Wishing you all success!
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Reply to DesertGrl53
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He may just be very busy. I usually make an appointment for a consultation. The usual appointment rate applies and insurance won't cover it but for us it is worth knowing that we have an allotted amount of time that we have paid for in order to consult.
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Reply to faeriefiles
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Have you asked to speak with the office manager? This helped me once when I couldn't get my daughters surgeon to return my calls.
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Reply to lisajean
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