How to Talk to an Elderly Parent’s Doctor About Care

How to Talk to an Elderly Parent’s Doctor About Care

As our parents grow older, adult children play a bigger and bigger role in their care and well-being. That can mean playing a bigger role in their physical, mental, and emotional health. Unfortunately, this can be difficult if you are unable to speak with your parent’s physician. So, if you’re starting to play a bigger role in your parent’s elderly care, you will likely want to establish lines of communication between yourself and your parent’s physician. How to Talk to an Elderly Parent’s Doctor About Care
Talking with an elderly parent’s doctor can be a complicated legal and medical situation. But when you’ve taken the necessary steps, it makes elderly care much, much easier. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to establish those lines of communication, along with some tips for how to engage with your loved one’s physician. How to Talk to an Elderly Parent’s Doctor About Care

Obtaining Legal Authorization

Physicians are legally obliged to keep a person’s medical information private. While some physicians will share information with a patient’s verbal permission, many feel uncomfortable doing so without written authorization.
If your loved one wants to retain their own medical power of attorney, your loved one can create a document that gives his or her physician permission to share medical information with a specific person or persons. A copy of this document must be supplied to your loved one’s physician. If your loved one wishes to give you or another member of your family medical power of attorney, you will need to follow the proper legal procedure for doing so.
It is always a good idea to let other members of your family know when medical authorization is being granted to another person. This can help avoid confusion about who is handling your parent’s health, and can prevent arguments around important health care decisions.

What to Do on Doctor’s Visits

Taking a leadership role in your parent’s medical care is not a decision you should take lightly. Once you’ve made the decision, you will become an advocate for your parent’s health and well-being. That means attending doctor’s visits with your parent, acquiring all the information you can about your parent’s medical history and current condition, and asking questions on behalf of your parent to get them the care they deserve.
When your parent has a doctor’s appointment, join them and make sure you come prepared. If your loved one has specific medical concerns, take notes beforehand and prepare a list of questions you would like answered. You may wish to speak with other family members or your parent’s elderly care provider to see if they have noticed any changes in your loved one’s condition or behavior.
One of the best things that you can do is start a notebook to keep track of your parent’s medical information. A notebook is an excellent tool that can be used to record things you notice about your parent’s condition at home, write questions for your parent’s physician in advance, and record information given by your parent’s physician.

Common Questions for Your Parent’s Doctor

The best way to get the information you need from your parent’s doctor is to ask smart questions. While the questions you ask will depend on your loved one’s condition and diagnosis, here are a few common and basic questions that you should keep in mind when speaking to your loved one’s physician:

  • Can you explain the diagnosis in more detail?
  • Does my parent need to see another medical professional or specialist?
  • Will my parent need to change their routine?
  • Is my parent at further risk of injury or illness due to their condition?
  • How will this impact my parent’s elderly care program?
  • Are there any specific signs or symptoms we should look out for?
  • How often should medication be taken and in what dosage?
  • What should we do if my parent misses a dose or takes an extra dose on accident?
  • Are there any side effects we should expect from the medication(s)?
  • How soon should my parent have their next appointment?

Share Information with Family & Elderly Care Providers

If you have important information about your loved one’s health, you may want to consider sharing it with other family members and/or elderly care providers. Providing family and elderly care workers with this information can make it easier for them to look after your parent. However, it’s important that you check with your loved one first before sharing private information. There may be information that your loved one doesn’t want shared with family or their elderly care provider. Unless this could put them in danger, it is important to respect their wishes.
Find out about elderly care services in your area by contacting your local Visiting Angels. Get started by contacting your local Visiting Angels office.

How to Talk to an Elderly Parent’s Doctor About Care

How to Talk to an Elderly Parent’s Doctor About Care How to Talk to an Elderly Parent’s Doctor About Care How to Talk to an Elderly Parent’s Doctor About Care How to Talk to an Elderly Parent’s Doctor About Care

About the Author

Richard Bitner

Visiting Angels is a national, private duty network of senior care agencies. We are proud to be the nation’s leading provider of non-medical at home care services. With our elder care services, seniors can remain independent and live safely at home. Our senior care services include Social Care, Dementia Care, Alzheimer’s Care, End of Life Care, Companion Care, Private Duty Care, care to prevent hospital readmission, and so much more.

Compassionate, dignified at home senior care is close to home when you connect with your local Visiting Angels office by calling 800-365-4189.

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