I made a late April appointment for my mom with a geriatrician. I could have made it for months ago, but didn't want to have to deal with traveling (3 hour round trip) with my mom in winter. Too unpredictable and she refuses to travel when there is a single snowflake anyway.

So now the appointment is canceled because of the virus. I agree and understand, but no idea when it can be rescheduled. At the rate things are going, it might not be until bad weather starts again in the fall. Which means more than a year due to the long harsh winters we experience. Mom NEEDS a diagnosis and treatment! And no there are no closer specialists. She lives in a very rural area.

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Our family had a member examined by a geriatrician via Telemedicine because the office appointments are all being cancelled. It was very helpful. Maybe you could investigate this option for your mom. It would be helpful to her in the future as well if her area is very rural. Call the Office on Aging or her primary care doctor to see if this is an option for you. Medicare might also have information on this for you.
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Your mother doesn’t have a local provider/PCP already?

I would call and reschedule the appointment and insist on getting a date. At least you’ll be on their schedule.
I too am an RN and many doctors are continuing to see their patients but not overtly ill pts with symptoms of Covid 19.

The doctors I work with are practicing social distancing by not having more than 4-5 pts in their lobbies now and even putting chairs outside in the hallway. Those patients are already established patients, however.

There are primary care practices here (DC/Metro area) that ARE taking new members. Matter of fact one practice has a new member appt today.

I am a RN case manager and work with about 10 different primary care practices. None have closed.
Specialists are open but may have different hours.

As you stated your mother is in a rural area but I am hoping she has a local provider already.

It’s going to be a while before healthcare availability in any situation is back to “normal”. Geriatricians are few and far between thus it will be difficult but not impossible to get on their schedule- give them a call and ask what they are projecting but no one really knows the answer anyway.
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Hi bolliveb,
I am an RN so maybe I can help you......I am so sorry about your moms situation. You do not mention what you need for your mother, so I am not fully aware of what your mom requires.

I can give you some information about appointments and doctors in general which might be helpful.
Every senior needs to get established with a primary care physician. This is someone who will manage their care if they have any acute or chronic illnesses ( high blood pressure, diabetes , colds , immunization needs ect). This may be why you were going to the geriatric doctor; to establish this relationship. A Primary care physician can be any medical doctor, family practice, or internal medicine doctor. Many of these doctors can and do take care of senior citizens and do more then a fine job of it. Just be sure any doctor you see is board certified in their field of medicine. A geriatric doctor can also serve as a Primary Care physician, but seniors dont have to have a geriatric doctor to get good care. In my experience the best care comes from a doctor who listens to you and is willing to explain what he is doing and why. Doctors who make you feel rushed or who dont seem to hear what you are telling them make the worst physicians. RUN from these people no matter their certifications! ( Imagine driving all that way and having a doctor zoom in and out of the room in 5 mins! ). Most primary care physicians refer their patients to specialists if they feel it is warranted including geriatric physicians.

In general it takes a month to get an appointment with just about any doctor and some specialists can take as long as 3-4 months, unless the pt is already established or its an urgent situation ( and even then some primary care physicians will send a pt to the Emergency room or to Urgent care).
I always tell people to make the appointment, even if you are not certain if you will be able to show up, because you can always cancel if its within 24 hrs. (if a snow flake is coming down). But if you need it and dont have it you could wind up waiting a whole month again. Just be sure to cancel ahead of time if you dont need the appointment or you could be charged.
Now with respect to your situation, if she is already this doctors pt I would be concerned because they could very well see pts who are in urgent need of care . Many doctors are. People still need healthcare even during pandemics!! There is no reason they cant be practicing social distancing in their office ( they can even schedule pts so that they do not ever have contact with each other. ). Cleaning well, some doctors are doing phone appointments, or computer appointments during this time, ect. If you mom is not yet a patient there , then I would ask what they are doing now for their established patients who need refills ect? I say this because this is a great time for you to find out how much this doctor will truly care about your mom as a pt. How you are being treated now is how you will likely always be treated . If they put themselves first.......thats how they will always be. I worked at an office where we went way out of our way to accommodate pts , but I have known of other offices who closed up and could not care less.

That being said - if your mom has an urgent need for something like blood pressure medication or diabetic meds, you can get that from an urgent care ( call ahead first). Other options for urgent care are phone triage . But As I mentioned she can be seen by other doctors and I know many are still open during this time- if it were me I would probably call around and explain what I need & why. Whoever was most accommodating I would make an appointment with , even if its a month out regardless. Even if this place calls you a week from now and gives you an appointment - keep the new one too and see how it goes before you cancel the other! Them not being around during this time just doesn't make them sound good.
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Won't they at least put her in for another month.
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