Is it necessary to see the doctor so often? - AgingCare.com

Is it necessary to see the doctor so often?

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I feel like my mother's doctors take advantage of her. Seems like they are just taking advantage of her insurance benefits. Just wondering, is it necessary to see her doctor every three months to monitor her blood pressure that has been under control with meds for many years now. She also sees two different eye specialists. One treats her AMD The other, her glaucoma, bringing her in each every three months. There is never any change... I don't want to begrudge her healthcare, but it just seems like they over do it. I finally talked her out of going to see my fathers heart specialist, because there is nothing wrong with her heart, and never has been. She just seems to want continual reassurance that everything is okay? Am I being selfish not feeling its necessary to go so often?

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Every 3 months is the norm. I took my dad for his Dr. visits every 3 months (or more frequently if there were problems) and I see my various Dr.'s every 3 months as well.

I work in home health and I've noticed that people with several medical issues can treat their health as kind of a hobby. I had a paraplegic as a patient and while he was very diligent about his care he went above and beyond what he really needed to do. Maybe it was out of fear, maybe it was out of boredom, maybe he just liked the attention but his life revolved around his health. He didn't get out much and would talk to me for a half an hour about his medication. He liked to show it to me, pill by pill. Again, I'm not complaining or being judgemental, I was there to care for him and I was impressed that he took such good care of himself but his health was his hobby. He had a blood pressure cuff and machine installed in his house but he didn't have blood pressure issues and took no blood pressure medication. It was a machine that would relay the results to the Dr.'s office. They finally took it out because he didn't need it. He also had an indwelling catheter and always wanted to see and smell the urine when I would empty the bag. It was good to see someone who was very involved in their healthcare but strangely, the minute something was wrong this curtain of denial would drop and he would refuse to discuss it. In my opinion, as long as things went along well and he stayed on top of his health he felt he had control over his life.

Just a little armchair psychology ;-)
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I used to work for a family doctor. All of our patients with high blood pressure were required to come in every three months to be checked. Also, insurance companies do not want to pay for any unnecessary office visits. They would question the doctor by not paying him along with an explanation of why. Your mother would also get a copy sent to her at her house.

If she was referred to a cardiologist and she does not have a problem with her heart, I would call either my family doctor or the cardiologist and have someone explain to you exactly why she needs to be seen. Don't be hesitant to ask questions. It is your health (or in this case, your mother's) so do not be afraid to ask.

Your mother must give her permission for the doctor or his staff to speak to you due to privacy laws. So make sure you are on file with them as being okay to talk with them before you call....or have your mother verbally tell them over the phone and then have her hand the phone to you.

I hope this helps...
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Depending on how social she is, the outing to the Dr. is her "social outing" or it gives her more to talk about to friends and family. :) I noticed a lot of elders in their 80s are doctor oriented when they chat with friends.
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Thanks all! Mom is 92. Yes, I believe the doctors are just following protocol, and since Medicare covers it, why not bring her in as often as they can. Just wish I could make my mom understand that. Personally, I think she obsesses about her health. Last week she "made" be call in for a refill on her scripts even after I pointed out she still had 72 days worth of meds still in the bottle. I honestly think she enjoys going to the dr. I think it's like a social outing for her. She still has all her mental capacity, so I'm not "allowed" to converse with the Dr. The other day... A beautiful May afternoon, I put my foot down. I just dropped her off telling her I was not an about to sit in a doctors office for 2 hours on such a beautiful day... Glad to hear that folks agree that she might be overdoing it... Even if I can't change her mind.
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I sort of agree, but I'm a youngster, 66. How old is your mother? If she's stable, twice a year sounds good. Ask the doctor to explain why it's necessary to come in so often. When our insurance was bad, I got "forced" into unneeded and expensive care, once for a broken toe, and once for a "funny feeling," by overcautious (maybe greedy?) doctors that ended up costing me thousands.

If her condition wasn't stable, that would be another thing.
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Really depends how old your Mom is. 3-6 months is in the range that I would consider normal. Is Dr. an internist? If so, Mom doesn't need to see specialists unless he see a problem--or you do. My 95 yr. old mother goes about every 4 months. My 64 yr. old husband goes every 4 months to his internist and every 6 mo. to his heart specialist. He on occasion has gone to other specialist for specific short-term issues that the internist has found.
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It sounds like there are two things going on here. One, the doctors want to follow protocol for whatever conditions exist, and two, mother enjoys the reassurance that she is OK.

I wonder if in some cases you could meet both needs without quite as many doctor appointments?

For example, my endocrinologist and PCP are in the same clinic. Ordinarily they'd each like to see me every 3 months, but I've worked it out to see each of them every 6 months, so I have 4 appointments per year instead of 8. They each can see the results, blood work, etc. that happened at the other appointment. I wonder if something like this would work for the eye specialists?

Get a blood pressure cuff and take Mom's bp a few times each week. If there is a high reading, take it a few times a day for a while. If you get a series of high readings, make a doctor appointment. If the bp is well controlled and you are monitoring it at home. a quarterly visit seems excessive. See if you could negotiate that with her doctor.

I agree with you that good and regular healthcare is important, but that excessive visits to the doctor are not only extra work for you but also put a strain on the health-care system. Insurance may cover her visits but they cost "the system." Nothing is really free.

If you can figure out ways to ensure that her health is being monitored appropriately with fewer doctor visits, more power to you!
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